What forces drive us and keep us going? What energy do we need to power us on? Energy is often defined as the ability to do work or to cause change. Power is defined as the rate of doing work or the rate of using energy. Energy has always existed in one form or another, and sometimes in places we often overlook. While the world has focused on using radio waves for communication, Powercast has focused on capturing radio waves to power devices.
Founded in 2003, Powercast developed an RF energy harvesting module with breakthrough efficiency levels. Coupled with a transmitter that sends RF energy using algorithms developed by Powercast, the Powercast Wireless Power Platform™ was born. While the concept of sending power “through the air” has been discussed for more than 100 years, Powercast is the first company to make it commercially viable and harness energy in this form.
A Powercaster™ transmitter chip, running on conventional 110V pwer, broadcasts a low-power radio (RF) signal at a specific frequency across inches or tens of meters of free space. Powerharvester™ receivers built into one or more remote devices capture enough energy to continuously recharge batteries, or to power devices directly. Patented algorithms more than double the effective range of conventional RF power output. A patented receiver circuit design captures up to 70% of the theoretical maximum anywhere within the Powercaster’s range.
Powercast technology is designed for low power applications such as Crossbow's Mote platforms. Any device that uses a small battery (e.g. AAA, AA, coin cell, thin-film) or capacitors and and can be placed near a transmitter either continuously or even occasionally is a viable candidate. The radio energy received by the RF Powerharvester allows devices to be recharged even when not plugged into or docked with a charger.
During a recent visit to Crossbow Technology, Powercast representatives Charlie Greene (Chief Scientist) and Harry Ostaffe (Director of Marketing) demonstrated how Crossbow's popular IRIS Mote platform benefits from this type of power source (operating the IRIS Mote without batteries using RF energy at 900MHz). With its low power, low data rate design, the IRIS Mote is a perfect candidate for Powercast RF energy harvesting technology to harness the power sent via radio energy to extend its battery life through wireless recharging, essentially providing perpetual, lifetime power.
Powercast believes that repeated battery replacements is a major impediment to enabling wireless sensor networks to scale to hundreds or thousands of nodes and view their wireless power technology as the solution. Powercast is now leading the cross-industry initiative to bring wireless power to a hundreds of low power devices including wireless sensors. Powercast's FCC approved technology has been supplying commercial products within the United States since the end of 2007.
Powercast is dedicated to provide RF energy harvesting and wireless power solutions that deliver milliWatts over tens of meters, Watts over centimeters. In comparison to other alternative energy technologies, Powercast accomplishes power transmission in a unique manner. Unlike pure ambient energy harvesting technologies like Piezo, solar or kinetic power, Powercast technology can be “always on”, or used in an on-demand or scheduled manner. Additionally, Powercast has the ability to deliver power through walls, ceilings and surfaces (rubber, plastic, plaster and wood).
For more information on this exciting new technology, visit Powercast here.