Apparatus and Method for Harvesting Ambient Energy by Circuit Reconfiguration

Case ID: 01113

Description

Apparatus and Method for Harvesting Ambient Energy by Circuit Reconfiguration

 

Case ID:

01113

 

Background

Low-power microcontrollers have laid the foundation for the vast expansion of. Pushing this edge further is the promising study of ambient energy harvesting for powering such devices. The practicality of current methods, however, are limited by fixed rates of energy extraction, the types of energies that can be harnessed, and the level of required dedicated storage circuitry. In combination with the low-level power inherent to ambient sources, how these technologies can be successfully integrated into everyday devices remains a key challenge.

 

Invention Description

Researchers at the University of Hawaii have developed an efficient system for harvesting ambient energy by circuit reconfiguration. This method is composed of a network of charge storage devices that differ in capacitance. Through dynamic switching between configurations stored energy grows exponentially with each cycle allowing its generative capacity to be scaled up according to application. The energy harvested from potential low-level source (e.g., human motion, vibrational) can effectively be stored directly in the system without the need for external batteries; however, system operation in tandem with batteries is not precluded. Additionally, an external voltage bias is not required for this method’s operation.

 

Potential Applications

• Self-Powered Sensors

• Biomedical Implants

• Internet of Things

• Remote Monitoring

• Portable Electronics

 

Benefits and Advantages

• Powerful – Low-level ambient energy can be extracted at an accelerating rate, which is unprecedented with current techniques

• Versatile – System applicability is not limited to a single type of ambient energy

• Self-contained – Energy harvested can be stored directly in the system without the need for external batteries or capacitors for later use

• Scalable – Exponentially increasing levels of stored energy allows the invention to be adapted to a variety of device power specifications

 

Intellectual Property Status

Patents Pending

 

Seeking

Development partner

Commercial partner

Licensing

University spin out

Investment

 

Key Words

ambient energy harvesting

electronic device applications

energy

low-power microcontrollers

Patent Information:
Inventors
Tianwei (david) Ma
Jian (jimmy) Yu
Enze Ma

For information, contact:
Rafael Gacel-Sinclair
Technology Licensing Associate
University of Hawaii
gacel@hawaii.edu
Keywords
Devices:Medical
Energy
Energy:Generation
Engineering:Electrical
Environment:Sensing


Categories
Energy
Engineering
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