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Powering the Internet of products

The wireless interconnection every day objects referred to as Internet of products depends upon wireless sensor networks that need a low but constant supply of electrical power. This is often provided by electromagnetic energy harvesters that generate electricity from environmental surroundings. Lise-Marie Lacroix from the Université de Toulouse, France, has used a mathematical technique, finite element simulation, to optimize the design of one particular energy harvester so that it generates electricity as efficiently as you possibly can.

The Internet of products includes a massive quantity of generally small, portable devices, each of which needs its own sustainable micro-energy source. Batteries are unsatisfactory for this as they will often need to be replaced or recharged. A variety of technologies are being considered instead, with one of probably the most promising solutions being electromagnetic energy harvesting.

An electromagnetic energy harvester consists of a vibrating plate holding an array of micromagnets facing and along with a parallel, static coil. Electrical power is generated by the vibrating magnets and the amount of electricity that may enter a circuit depends on the style of the coil and magnet and also the spacing together.

Lacroix and her team studied a system where the magnets were state-of-the-art NdFeB ones-that is, these were made up of an alloy of the rare earth metal neodymium with iron and boron. They discovered that power could be optimized through a trade-off between your spacing from the magnets in the array and the number of turns in the coil; reducing the distance between coil and array and enhancing the thickness of the magnets may also greatly increase it.

“We are now producing harvesters using the guidelines that we have developed through this study,” she explains. These devices will probably be useful within the aerospace, automotive and biomedical sectors yet others that have arrived at rely on the web of Things.