Nanoscale Chip Design Enables Future 'Internet of Things'
With each passing day we are becoming more intertwined into the Internet of Things, where each and every object in the world—your clothes closet and every article of clothing in it, your dishwasher and every dish in it, and so on—has its own IP address. Obviously, they will communicate wirelessly. That takes power and, in many cases, frequent battery changes.
Now Peter Kinget, a professor or electrical engineering at Columbia University, and his colleagues have developed a nanoscale chip that requires so little energy in transmitting wireless signals that the batteries may never need to be replaced.
The chip will be presented at the at the IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) meeting in two weeks by Kinget's Ph.D. student Baradwaj Vigraham under the user-friendly title "A Self-Duty-Cycled and Synchronized UWB Receiver SoC Consuming 375pJ/bit for -76.5dBm Sensitivity at 2Mbps."
The research is part of a larger, award-winning research program called EnHANTs. “The goal of Enhants is to make thin, flexible, energy self-reliant tags that can be attached to common objects (clothes, furniture, toys, books, walls, windows, shelves, etc.) in our environment for applications such as the Internet of Things, logistics, tracking and search, or disaster recovery,” explains Kinget.
To this end the credit-card-size tags Kinget and his collaborators (Gil Zussman and John Kymissis) have developed will collect energy with photovoltaic cells. The photovoltaics will draw energy from artificial light in addition to sunlight since indoor applications are of key interest.