Research Field Autarkic Systems
These are systems which perform their functions with virtually no external support. They require no electrical current, no communication and no external computing. Autarkic embedded systems are operated by appropriate microcontroller systems and run on an optimised energy budget. They do not require new batteries and derive the electrical energy they need from sources in their environment such as light, heat, motion or radio waves. Typically they either function without any communication at all or via wireless links.
Autarkic systems collect the operating energy by energy harvesting. Designed for both longevity and maintenance free operation they communicate wirelessly or operate completely without communication. Autarkic systems are especially suited for applications where wiring or maintenance (for example, battery replacement) is either impossible or uneconomic. Applications examples are wireless sensor nodes or independent actuators. The use of energy harvesting technologies generates added value for existing applications. It enables new applications for embedded systems. Sensors or actuators can be realized as a completely energy self-sufficient systems.
Autarkic systems are limited in power budget. The functionality and the uptime of the system are determined by the application and the available energy. This makes a complete system approach necessary which takes into account the three aspects of energy harvesting, energy management and energy consumption by the application. In addition to the system itself, especially the application and functionality must be designed for energy harvesting.
We take a systems approach to the development of autonomous systems which guarantees maximum benefit for our partners. We place special focus on feasibility, stability and efficiency of solutions. We produce results that place industry partners in a position to begin risk-free product industrialization.
Our services include all steps for the development of autarkic systems:
- Application analysis
- Conceptual design of the overall system
- Selection of appropriate harvesting technology or harvester
- Development or selection of boosters and converters
- Design and optimization of power management
- Development of ultra-low-power embedded systems with radio transmission and connected consumers
- Implementation of the software (microcontroller, radio transmission, receiver)
- Design and implementation of intelligent algorithms for minimizing energy consumption
The completely self-sufficient heating valve uses a thermoelectric generator (TEG) and an optimized booster for energy harvesting.
The condition monitoring system harvests energy from the motor vibrations allowing it to operate sensors, microcontroller and radio.
The wireless body area network is designed for energy harvesting and reaches a sufficient transmission reliability and frequency for closed-loop control applications.
The energy autarkic system measures environmental data and adjusts ventilation flaps. Energy is supplied from the air flow by means of energy harvesting.
The system tracks the position of up to 255 objects in a spatially extended area. The communication between the trackers and the base station is done via LoRa radio transmission. Distances of up to 40 km are possible.
The wearable harvests energy from the walking movement. It measures various data and sends it to a smartphone for visualization and further processing.
Autarkic systems allow the realization of various solutions. The integration into larger communication networks or distributed systems opens up further possibilities. Through close cooperation with other affiliated research units we can realize the entire solution chain, from self-sufficient sensor via the data transmission to the data processing and the resulting action, for different problem areas.
Together with the “Internet of Things” research group we can realize distributed autonomous systems and sensor networks.
We are involved in research platforms, which combine the capabilities of several institutes and research areas. Together with our research partners we can cover the entire topics: