Battery-less solutions on the rise

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In India, Pune-based Jeevtronics just announced a hand-cranked, battery-less defibrillator that can be used in the absence of electricity. This is important, because according to an Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology Review (AER) report, 17 million people die each year from sudden and unexpected cardiac arrest. The company notes that sudden cardiac arrest is such a dangerous condition that it can kill the patient within 10 minutes. At that time, an external defibrillator is used to deliver electric shocks to restore the heartbeat and at that time, hospitals will need heavy-duty electricity to provide emergency care.

In addition to this, a newly implanted defibrillator and pacemaker are announced. Researchers at Northwestern and George Washington Universities developed the world’s first transient pacemaker – a wireless, battery-free, fully implantable pacing device that disappears when no longer needed. The thin, flexible and lightweight device could be used in patients who need temporary stimulation after cardiac surgery or while waiting for a permanent pacemaker. All components of the pacemaker are biocompatible and naturally absorb into body biofluids for five to seven weeks, without requiring surgical extraction.

Source: Northwestern University

The device wirelessly collects power from a remote external antenna using near-field communication protocols, the same technology used in smartphones for electronic payments and in RFID tags. This eliminates the need for bulky batteries and rigid hardware, including wires.

“The material placed in or near the heart creates the risk of infection and other complications,” said John A. Rogers of Northwestern, who led the development of the device. “Our wireless transient pacemakers overcome the major drawbacks of traditional temporary devices by eliminating the need for percutaneous leads for surgical extraction procedures, offering the potential to reduce costs and improve patient care outcomes. This unusual type of device could represent the future of temporary stimulation technology.

Connected watches are now medical devices

Raghu Das, CEO of IDTechEx, notes that “smartwatches are serious medical devices now, but sleep information cannot be tracked while charging at night because the smart watch has been removed for charging. This is because the main reason that users stop long-term use of portable devices is that they frequently need to recharge the battery. Now, the University of Massachusetts uses skin conduction and MHz radiation to charge the watch without you taking it off, meaning it can monitor you 24/7. This is legal and safe and may involve storage of energy without batteries.

No wonder the Everactive battery eliminator in the United States has just raised $ 35 million in oversubscribed Series C funding. It’s about accelerating the growth of ubiquitous battery-less remote monitoring for Industry 4.0. Its nodes have an ultra-low power radio and therefore can be powered by body heat and other harvesters.

Battery powered sensors

Hill Air Force Base in Utah is involved in a demonstration project to use Everactive’s small, ultra-low power sensors to monitor the health of steam and mechanical distribution systems, electric motors, pumps, fans and other rotating devices. These always-on wireless sensors provide continuous cloud-based analytics at a scale not possible with battery-powered devices.

Everactive targets high-volume industrial assets that are currently unmonitored or under-monitored precisely because they exist in such a high volume. Indeed, they point out that most factories are unwilling to place battery-powered sensors on thousands of engines, pumps, compressors or steam traps; the logistical cost of adding thousands of items to a maintenance list is not only prohibitive, but also defeats the cost reduction goal of these same sensors.

IoT solutions

The new investors joined existing investors, including New Enterprise Associates, which includes former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt as a Venture Partner and key advisor to its portfolio of industrial companies.

“The industry sector has been eagerly awaiting the data explosion promised by IoT solutions, but has been continually disappointed,” said Immelt. “By eliminating the need for batteries, Everactive can offer extremely scalable and cost-effective solutions to generate the data streams necessary to take full advantage of IoT. With autonomous sensors, the modernization of thousands of existing equipment in a factory or a refinery becomes a reality. “

Different routes

Wireless tire pressure monitoring systems are advancing through the use of surface acoustic waves, H electromagnetic fields and other means. Nuclear Diamond Battery (NDB) has created a microchip with a radioactive core that claims to last 28,000 years without ever needing a charge. i4 Product Design now has a feasibility study, funded by a grant from Scottish Enterprise, to explore how energy harvesting can power electronics and the Internet of Things.

Android now has documentation on how it handles products that don’t have internal batteries. The 6G communications that are expected in 2030 will revolve around the devices with the lowest power, so energy harvesting is sufficient and even devices without power, the device being driven by the 6G signal beam much like the RFID without battery by backscattering.

Dr Peter Harrop PhD, FIEE – President of IDTechEx Ltd.


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