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Publication Date: 07/1/2011
Archive >  July 2011 Issue >  Hi-Tech Events > 

IDTechEx Energy Harvesting & Awards
Munich, Germany — At the Energy Harvesting & Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) awards dinner on June 21 in Munich, companies were recognized for making significant technical or commercial progress with these technologies. Two eminent academics judged the entries: Dr. Paul Mitcheson of Imperial College London, UK and Dr. Thomas Rodig, Fraunhofer IKTS, Dresden, Germany.

The awards are part of the IDTechEx event — which was attended by over 350 people from 21 countries and featured 33 exhibitors on June 21 and 22, 2011.

The winners for each category were: Best Technical Development of an Energy Harvesting Device, Texas Instruments; Best Technical Development of a WSN/RTLS Device, Dust Networks; Best Application of Energy Harvesting, Micropelt; Best Application of a Wireless Sensor Network, Millennial Net Best in Show Award, Infinite Power Solutions (IPS).

Best Technical Development of an Energy Harvesting Device, awarded to Texas Instruments. This category was judged on which organization had made the most significant technical achievement in energy harvesting over the past 18 months. Texas Instruments wins the award for development of an integrated ultra-low power microcontroller with FRAM Non-volatile Memory.

The FRAM ensures data can be written more than 100 times faster and uses as little as 1/250 of the power used by flash- and EEPROM-based microcontrollers. Also, the FRAM on the allows data retention in all power modes, supports more than 100 trillion write cycles, and delivers a new dimension of flexibility by allowing developers to partition data and programming memory with changes in software. It eliminates existing power consumption and write endurance barriers. When combined with the world's lowest power microcontroller architecture in the MSP430 MCU from Texas Instruments, FRAM enables many new energy harvesting and wireless networking applications.

Best Technical Development of a WSN/RTLS Device, awarded to Dust Networks. Dust Networks won this award for its SmartMesh® IP product family, launched in May 2011, that combines ?? 3 ?standards-based wireless sensor networks (WSN), location awareness and energy harvesting. SmartMesh IP is a 6LoWPAN, IEEE 802.15.4 WSN that combines the resilience of industrial networking with native IP addressability. Eterna, also developed by Dust Networks, is the breakthrough technology ingredient that makes all of the company's 802.15.4 products ultra-low power. Eterna technology enables up to 8x lower power consumption than competitive offerings, which means battery-powered devices built on Eterna-enabled chips and modules last on average 8 times longer, and are 8 times "greener" even if line powered. Eterna's low power innovation enables battery-free energy harvesting, where the power for the device is literally gleaned from the small bit of energy generated by a button push, ambient vibration, hand squeeze, or other harvester.

Best Application of Energy Harvesting, awarded to Micropelt. Micropelt wins this award for its TE-qNODE — a self-powered wireless condition monitoring sensor which helps to ensure failure-free electric power availability in 24/7 production environments. Resistive heat goes along with any current loaded conductor, and degrading connections to that conductor increase the heat — a natural match with the concept of thermoelectric power generation to power a wireless monitoring sensor at the potential point of failure. Micropelt has teamed up with Schneider Electric, the French leader in medium and low voltage electrical power distribution who wants to increase reliability of electrical installations. Micropelt developed the lifetime self-powered TE-qNODE in response to this demand.

Two micro thermogenerators MPG-D751 are put in series to ensure startup of the DC converter from minimum gradients. The TE-qNODE operates from a temperature differential of 5°C between a monitored busbar and the surrounding air. Even at low loads, temperature information is transmitted wirelessly more than 10 times a minute. The TE-qNODE is clamped on to the target busbar in a single-handed mounting operation, so multiple measuring points can be deployed during short production breaks. A solid adjustable clamp holds the sensor in place.

Best Application of a Wireless Sensor Network, awarded to Millennial Net. Millennial Net wins this award for its MeshScape® Energy Management Solutions, which consist of a wireless sensor network combined with internet technologies. It provides remote monitoring and control of buildings' heating, ventilation and air-conditioning ("HVAC") systems, lighting and other energy consuming devices, allowing building owners and operators to reduce energy consumption and manage peak demands. The solution is ideal for retrofitting any building without centralized controls as wireless networking avoids the time, costs and disruption of a hard-wired installation.

Best in Show Award, awarded to Infinite Power Solutions (IPS). This award was voted for by attendees at the event. IPS showcased multiple demonstrators and provided tangible proof that energy harvesting has reached levels of maturity that make it deployment-ready.

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