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Monday, July 26, 2021

Towards a Battery Free Internet of Things

Some notes about how this might work.  Think its inevitable that we will have many kinds of IOTs  delivering AI.   Further how we can ensure these devices getting security updates.

A Battery-Free Internet of Things,  By Esther Shein

Communications of the ACM, July 2021, Vol. 64 No. 7, Pages 16-18  10.1145/3464937

Introductory video:  https://youtu.be/gX9cbxLSOkE 

When NVIDIA purchased mobile-chip designer Arm Holdings from SoftBank last year, NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang made the bold prediction that in the years ahead, there will be trillions of artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Regardless of whether that holds true, it is safe to say the growth of IoT devices is exploding. All those devices will require power sources, and the way Josiah Hester sees it, that's problematic for the environment and society.

"When I see the 'trillion' number, I see a trillion dead batteries, basically," says Hester, an assistant professor of computer engineering at Northwestern University. "There's piles of batteries in landfills in China and elsewhere sitting there unrecycled; or they're put in furnaces and melted down, which is not a carbon-neutral event."

As a native Hawaiian, Hester also is concerned about the impact of micro-plastics and dead batteries turning up in oceans, and about lithium mining, which uses water supplies that people depend on to live. That got him thinking about how to design computer systems without batteries that instead harvest energy, thus reducing their carbon footprint and the impact on the environment.

Hester and other researchers at Northwestern designed a battery-free Nintendo Game Boy that is powered by button presses and sunlight, harvesting energy from the movement of tiny magnets and through tightly wound coils every time a user presses a button.

Now, the team is working on smart face masks that are powered by a person's breathing or movement, that will be able to capture heart or respiration rates, and also to determine whether the person is wearing the mask correctly.   ... ' 

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