Dr Bernard Stark and his team members in the Bristol Electrical Energy Management Research Group based in the Merchant Venturers School of Engineering have introduced a voltage detector chip that needs just a few trillionths of a watt to activate other circuits. The research team are offering samples of their chip to companies to use, which will allow engineers to design sensors that regularly listen, without using power from a battery or mains.
The result is smaller batteries, or a battery life that is extended, in some situations by years. The voltage detector can also eradicate standby power, for instance the group have illustrated a TV with no regular draw of power during standby, by employing a voltage detector that is powered up at a distance, directly from the infrared signal of a regular TV controller.
The patent pending UB20M voltage detector, or keep it alive device, is a chip that when linked with a suitable sensor, eradicates standby power by allowing zero-power sensing and listening. It enables circuit designers to develop circuits that perform regular monitoring without employing battery power, and to execute wireless wake-up with zero receiver power. The chip is a sensor-driven circuit that needs no power supply; instead it uses traction of the power contained in the output signal of the sensor.
Dr. Stark, Reader in Electronic & Electrical Engineering in the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering says, “The ultra-low power UB20M voltage detector offers sensing that is free and continuous. It is because it is able to respond to small quantities of power from unpowered sensors. No battery or other power is required for the device to stay alive and listening, and maintenance of battery is therefore diminished or not needed. We are now actively seeking commercial partners to employ the voltage detector chip in their product and would welcome companies to get in touch.”
An electrical sensing device employs power to both react and listen. In sensors like a security alarms, activity monitors and other Internet of Things devices, the energy to keep the device alive and listening, can far outweigh the energy employed to react. In such situations, it is particularly vital to eradicate listening power in order to enhance the battery life and create a system that is less environmentally wasteful.
In response to this limitation, the research group, with support of Government, has introduced a technique of eradicating the power drain employed to listen, by using small, insignificant volumes of energy, from the event that the device is waiting for, like movement of an asset tracker, or infrared light from a TV regulator.
Such energy switches on mains or battery powered devices, precisely when needed. The voltage detector chip is also small enough to fit into numerous autonomous electrical devices. The voltage detector chip uses over a thousand times less energy than existing detectors to prepare a turn-on signal.
Filed Under: News