78. pible: battery-free mote for perpetual indoor applications

Department: Computer Science & Engineering
Faculty Advisor(s): Rajesh Gupta

Primary Student
Name: Francesco Fraternali
Email: frfrater@ucsd.edu
Phone: 858-281-3367
Grad Year: 2019

To enable smart building applications we need a large-scale deployment of sensors distributed across the environment. Much of the recent innovations in smart environments are driven by wireless networked sensors as they are easy and flexible to deploy. Low-power wireless nodes available today can achieve multi-year lifetimes with a AA battery using specialized protocols like Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and ZigBee. But replacing these batteries at scale is a non-trivial, manually intensive task. Energy harvesting has emerged as a potential solution to avoid battery replacements but requires compromises such as application specific sensor node design, simplified communication protocol or reduced quality of service. In this paper, we explore the design space of battery-less sensor nodes using commercial off the shelf components, and propose Pible: a Perpetual Indoor BLE sensor node that uses an ambient light energy harvesting system and can be exploited for a generic set of buildings applications. We analyze the trade-offs between node-lifetime, quality of service and light availability and present a predictive algorithm that adapts to changing lighting conditions to maximize node lifetime and application performance. Using a 15 node, 15-day deployment in a real building under varying lighting conditions, we show feasible applications that can be implemented using Pible, and the boundary conditions under which they can fail. We conclude with guidelines for design of battery-less energy harvesting nodes for practitioners.

Industry Application Area(s)
Electronics/Photonics | Energy/Clean technology | Sensor Applications and Deployments

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