Microchip has unveiled what it claims to be the first rf energy harvesting kit to enable battery free, perpetually powered wireless applications.
The Lifetime Power energy harvesting development kit for wireless sensors features PIC mcus with eXtreme Low Power (XLP) technology. The kit has been designed to make it easy to demonstrate and develop smart energy wireless sensor applications that are reliably and perpetually powered by radio waves – eliminating the need for a battery. According to Microchip, the included transmitter can wirelessly power sensor devices from more than 40feet away. The kit is composed of a 3watt Powercaster transmitter as a power source, two P2110 Powerharvester receiver evaluation boards, two custom designed wireless sensor boards, an XLP 16bit development board pre-loaded with jointly developed application software, an IEEE 802.15.4 transceiver and other accessories. Powercast's rf transmitter and receiver energy harvesting system broadcasts and converts rf energy into dc power. By combining this with XLP PIC microcontrollers, Microchip claims it can provide the industry's lowest power consumption in active and sleep modes. A Powercaster transmitter broadcasts rf energy to the Powerharvester receiver, which can be embedded into a micropower device. The receiver then converts the rf energy and presents it as a regulated power supply to Microchip's PIC24F microcontroller. Broadcasted rf energy as an application's sole power source could enable battery free operation in hazardous or inaccessible locations and it is controllable so can work in locations where other potentially intermittent energy harvesting sources make them unreliable.