Energy Harvesting for Wireless Sensors

The subject of this week’s seminar in Dennis Allison’s class at Stanford this afternoon (4:15-5:30PM in Gates B01) looks really interesting:

Harvesting energy from environmental sources can extend wireless
sensor network node lifetime beyond the limits of battery
technology. Potential energy sources include solar, thermal, and
mechanical vibration, each of which has specific advantages and
disadvantages. However, they all have in common that the output
power from an energy harvester scales poorly with decreasing
device dimensions and is highly variable. These two challenges
can be addressed by appropriate circuit and system design which
both decreases the average power consumption and enables a
user-level tradeoff between accurate processing and energy
dissipation. In this talk, we will give an overview of energy
harvesting mechanisms, describe circuit and system
microarchitecture techniques for energy harvesting wireless
sensors, and give specific examples of designing for energy
harvesting applications. Lastly, we will discuss future prospects
for energy harvesting technology.

About the speaker:

Rajeevan Amirtharajah received the S.B., M.Eng., and Ph.D.
degrees in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. From 1999 to 2002, at
High Speed Solutions Corp. (later Intel), Hudson, MA, he
developed high performance memory buses. In 2003, he was a
consulting engineer at SMaL Camera Technologies, Cambridge, MA,
working on mixed-signal and digital circuit design. He is
currently an assistant professor at the University of California,
Davis, where his research focuses on low power microarchitecture,
circuit and interconnect design, energy scavenging, and signal
processing for wireless sensor nodes. He received the National
Science Foundation CAREER award in 2006.