An Innovative Method to Continuously Power IoT Devices

Published Apr-30-19

An energy harvesting power module on a chip that powers smart IoT devices, eliminating the need for batteries.

NOWI B.V., Netherlands

The Story:

An Innovative Method to Continuously Power IoT Devices The IoT Innovation World Cup is a global open innovation competition for IoT (Internet of Things) and wearable tech start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs. The purpose is to discover and bring to the fore potentially disruptive innovations in one or more categories such as agriculture, city, healthcare, home, retail and transport. Participants submit details of their innovations to the contest's online portal which are then evaluated based on the degree of innovation, business potential and go-to-market approach.

The winner of the 2019 contest was NOWI B.V., a Dutch semiconductor innovator for energy harvesting technologies that bring energy to IoT devices without the use of wires or batteries. The technology works by converting into power the energy that is already around devices such as heat, light, movement and radio waves.

The Internet of Things is a term used to describes how things (devices) are upgraded with a chip that gives them internet connectivity that lets them communicate with other smart devices and users. This provides people with a slew of controls that would not normally be possible such as being able to turn devices on or off from anywhere with an internet connection. Almost any appliance or electronic device can be plugged into the
Internet of Things.

Innovative Energy Harvesting Technology

To enable devices to communicate with each other and the internet they need sensors. One issue with these currently is that they are passive for long periods of time and when they ‘wake up’ require considerable bursts of power that can significantly reduce a device's battery life.

To get over this problem NOWI B.V. developed a powerful module for IoT sensors, the result of ten years' worth of academic research and several patents. It is called the NOWI power module, and is a type of IC integrated circuit.

“The Nowi power module eliminates the need for frequent battery changes or impractical cables. Instead, it enables any sensor company to use external ambient energy sources and thereby reduce the need for maintenance. We call this Plug & Forget,” explained the company’s CEO, Simon van der Jagt.

A World of Possibilities

NOWI B.V, picked up its IoT Innovation World Cup award at the 2019 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and already has received a lot of interest in its new technology. Companies from several countries are using prototypes of the power modules in a number of pilot projects.

Additionally, at the time of writing this article in March 2019, a Swiss watch with smart functionalities such as activity tracking is due to go on sale within weeks. The timepiece is integrated with NOWI's small chip and will never need user-charging.

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