Headline, May 01 2022/ ''' '' SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY SENSORS '' '''


 SENSORS '' '''

ALTERNATIVE ENERGY : SENSORS THAT RUN ON LIGHT - HEAT AND VIBRATIONS, instead of batteries are all the rage.........

SECRET SOURCE : NET FEASA is not alone. Sensors that draw power from the environment, either to supplement a battery or replace it, are starting to spread. Managers at EnOcean, a German company that is one of the leading firms in the field, estimates that some 20 million of the firm's products have been installed into a million buildings around the world.

The most advanced are those that use light. Their power-packs are similar to solar cells, but are adjusted to cope with the fact that artificial interior lighting they are scavenging is both weaker than sunlight and of a different colour.

Such photo-voltaic sensors are used to measure levels of illumination, temperature, air pollution and even [ of particular interest at the moment ] airborne pathogens. Automatic systems fed these data can then adjust lighting, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning levels appropriately.

PERCHED AS IT IS above a harbour on the Dingle peninsula, on Ireland's Atlantic coast, Mike Fitzgerald's office has an unparalleled view of the domain he hopes to conquer: the open sea. As founder and boss of Net Feasa, a name derived from the Irish word of knowledge, Mr. Fitzgerald's ambition is to fit a sensor to each of the millions of shipping containers that are moving around the world.

By using these to track the locations of, and conditions experienced by, those containers, and transmitting that information back to the people who need to know via a satellite when a container is at sea and via a mobile-phone network when it is in port or on land, he believes firms will be able to maximise the efficiency of supply chain.

And supply-chain oversight is but one of the benefits small, remotely connected sensors can bring. People already interact with many of them - sometimes knowingly, such as those in smart watches, sometimes less so, such as those which regulate temperature and lighting in their offices.

Some folk, indeed, talk grandly of the result being an interconnected network akin to an ''internet of things''. [IOT]

Whether or not that comes to pass, there will be a lot more such sensors in the future. In 2017, researchers at ARM, a chipmaker, predicted that the world would have a trillion of them by 2035. Even more sober estimates run into tens of hundreds of billions. And they will all need power.

Lest battery-makers start rubbing their hands in glee at this new market, though, Mr. Fitzgerald, and others like him, have a different idea. Their version of this future will not be battery-powered. Instead, the sensors populating it will scavenge for a living.

NET FEASA is building sensors to do just that. They are powered by vibrations, heat and light, using technology developed in collaboration with Mike Hayes of the Tyndall National Institute, in Cork. The electricity thus generated is then stored in devices called supercapacitors, whence it is instantly available.

Only in case of dire energy starvation need the system call on the backup battery installed in it. As a consequence, that battery should never need replacement.

All of this is packed into a device a few centimetres across, which is designed to fit unobtrusively on a shipping container's doors. And these devices are already proving themselves in early trials.

Photovoltaic sensors can also track products on assembly lines and monitor quality during manufacture. They offer eyes and ears in sterile chambers and provide early warning of shortages or leaks.

They generate vast quantities of data as well, which can be used to maximise efficiency - through firms that employ them in this way tend to be secretive about the details.

A study published in 2019 on the industrial applications of all sensor types in Germany, Switzerland and Austria by EY, a consultancy, estimated the combined boost to revenue from their extensive deployment could be as high as 34% depending on the sector involved.

OBVIOUSLY, photovoltaic harvesting has restrictions, for it is suitable only in places where the lights are usually on. That works for offices and those parts of factories where people operate. But for many industrial applications, especially those being carried out in the dark, a more useful source of scavenged energy is heating.

The trick of turning this into electricity was discovered two centuries ago, and has been improving ever since. It usually involves a device called thermocouple, made of sheets of two appropriate materials laid face to face.

When one side is hotter than the other, electrons move between the sheets, generating a current.

The Honour and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Sensors and Future, continues. The World Students Society thanks author The Economist.

With respectful dedication to The Scientists, Researchers of Science & Technology, and then Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society - for every subject in the world : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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