Jennic, a manufacturer of innovative 32-bit wireless microcontrollers, has shown that its can transmit multiple data packets using 100 µJ of energy harvested from an electro-mechanical switch. Jennic claims to be the first wireless microcontroller vendor to demonstrate ZigBee communication with such low energy consumption. The demonstration unit shows that a single switch press is all that is required to enable the to carry out system startup and initialisation, followed by a sequence of packet transmissions to increase the probability of packet delivery to the receiver.
Jennic previously announced a series of energy harvesting technology demonstrators utilising thermal, vibrational, RF and solar energy harvesting techniques to power end devices in a wireless sensor network. By employing a powered wireless backbone that contains permanently active proxy server routers, energy-constrained end devices can broadcast data when they are able, relying on the backbone to intercept the data messages.
This latest demonstrator is expected to attract particular interest among developers of home automation and commercial building automation lighting systems, where wireless and battery-less light switches can control the lighting within the building to reduce the cost of cable installation and maintenance. It also links directly with ZigBee’s Green Power standardisation efforts for the integration of wireless and battery-less light switches with ZigBee home automation networks.
Jennic’s wireless microcontroller integrates a high-performance 32-bit RISC CPU core with mixed-signal peripherals and an IEEE802.15.4, 2.4G Hz transceiver. The 98 dB link budget supports indoor communication over distances of up to 50 metres, while 128-bit AES encryption ensures a high level of security. It offers industry-leading current consumption of just 15 mA when transmitting, 17.5 mA when receiving, and 200 nA in sleep.
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