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13th May 2015

Innovate UK Supported Project Designed to Provide 'Self Powering Autonomous' Sensors

Sharp Laboratories of Europe Ltd (SLE) in conjunction with project partners Gas Sensing Solutions Ltd (GSSL - project lead) and the Institute of Thin Films & Sensors, University of the West of Scotland have secured an Innovate UK Collaborative Research & Development Project from the recent Energy Harvesting for Autonomous Electronics call. Project value £450k.

This project addresses the need for an energy harvesting method compatible with economic deployment and extended battery life/ self powering for autonomous electronics, focussing on the use of SLE's innovative high efficiency light energy harvester. The autonomous electronics platform used for the project comprises wireless multiple sensors (carbon dioxide (CO2) /temperature /humidity /light /dew point) combined with embedded data processing and datalogging electronics for use in applications such as building/ home automation, horticulture and medical devices.

A key objective is demonstration of the energy harvester for use in various lighting scenarios, in particular indoor low level lighting conditions. Other activities include power management interface with sensors and embedded electronic modules and use with long life rechargeable thin film batteries and/or super capacitors. The high-efficiency energy harvesting method provides potential for "fit and forget" deployment of autonomous electronics based controllers in smart wireless sensor networks. Limitations of batteries are addressed by holistically optimising energy generation and storage, power management and power consuming sub-systems in order to dramatically extend battery lifetime.

The consortium includes end user assessment in the building and horticulture sectors, representing growing requirements in established and emerging global markets for indoor air quality monitoring and demand control within the building, transport and horticulture sectors in order to meet occupant well-being, energy efficiency, and food production targets. In addition, portable/ wearable sensors for diagnostic/ management of medical conditions are a relevant market to this project, investigating potential for autonomous capnography monitors.

The project brings together a world-class consortium, combining capabilities in GSSL sensor research, development & production, SLE's energy harvester and UWS thin film battery/ energy storage.

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