Powercast has announced a partnership with Kyocera AVX to bring new functionality to radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags for the Internet of Things (IoT) — by adding supercapacitors to store enough power from a reader to drive up to three active sensors per tag.
"The ability to power green, sustainable devices solely from the RF [Radio-Frequency energy] harvested from the RFID readers deployed today throughout many industries can solve the main problem IoT deployments face — battery replacement," claims Charles Greene, PhD, Powercast's chief operating officer and chief technical officer. "We are teaming with Kyocera AVX whose thin, advanced supercapacitors can store the energy generated by Powercast Technology and discharge as needed to either directly power a battery-free device, or recharge a rechargeable battery."
The partnership sees devices combine Powercast's PCC110 Powerharvester energy-harvesting receiver chip with a Kyocera AVX ultra-thin supercapacitor — storing harvested energy until there's enough to run additional hardware above and beyond a simple RFID tag, including multiple sensors and even displays.
The technology is found at the heart of Powercast's PCT100 "High-Function" radio-frequency identification tags, in which the power harvested to drive the RFID chip is also used to run up to three embedded sensors: temperature, humidity, and light level. The same harvested power can be used to illuminate an on-board LED for visual feedback — and all using a standard, unmodified ultra-high frequency (UHF) RFID reader.
Powercast has also pledged to release additional sensor types for its RFID tags, including stress and strain sensors, vibration and tilt sensors, moisture sensors, and even biometric sensors, with additional visual confirmation from ePaper or other bi-stable displays or an audible alert system. The same technology is used in the company's electronic shelf label (ESL) products, which use the harvested power to update ePaper displays.
"This collaborative effort can be used to develop environmentally-friendly smart home IoT ecosystems that eliminate disposable batteries, while extending backup time and providing instantaneous power pulses as needed," claims Kyocera AVX' Mamoon Abedraboh. "Our vision is to make IoT more sustainable now and into the future."
The two companies have confirmed plans to show off the PCT100 sensor tags and ESL displays at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas later this week; attendees can fill in the form on the Powercast website to arrange a meeting.