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Wake-­p Timer Saves Power for IoT Sensors

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An alarm clock.

Researchers have created an on-chip circuit that acts as a low-cost, battery-less wake-up timer for silicon chips in Internet of Things sensor nodes.


Researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Politecnico di Torino in Italy have created a "battery-less" wake-up timer that substantially lowers the power consumption of silicon chips for Internet of Things (IoT) sensor nodes.

NUS' Massimo Alioto said the timer is an on-chip circuit that "operates in the picowatt range, and cuts power consumption of rarely-active IoT sensor nodes by 1,000 times."

The timer can operate without a voltage regulator because it is less sensitive to supply voltage, which suppresses the additional energy that peripheral always-on circuits conventionally consume.

The device also can also continue operating without a battery under scarce ambient power, as demonstrated by a miniaturized on-chip solar cell exposed to moonlight.

Said NUS’ Orazio Aiello, this development “contributes towards realizing the ultimate vision of inexpensive, millimeter-scale and, eventually, battery-less sensor nodes.”

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Abstracts Copyright © 2018 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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