CPS: Synergy: Collaborative Research: Towards Dependable Self-Powered Things for the IoT

Project: Research project

Project Details


Scaling the Internet of Things (IoT) to billions and possibly trillions of 'things' requires transformative advances in the science, technology, and engineering of cyber-physical systems (CPS), with none more pressing or challenging than the power problem. Consider that if every device in a 1 trillion IoT network had a battery that lasted for a full five years, over 500 million batteries would need to be changed every day. Clearly, a battery-powered IoT is not feasible at this scale due to both human resource logistics and environmental concerns. There is a need for a batteryless approach that dependably meets functionality requirements using energy harvested from the physical world. This project brings together experts in materials, devices, circuits, and systems to pursue a holistic approach to self-powered wireless devices deployed in real-world environments and IoT systems and applications. In addition, educational and outreach activities will help develop the workforce for this relatively new field with the holistic, materials-to-systems perspective that will be necessary to lead innovation in this space.

A critical challenge that this project addresses is that both optimal device operation and energy harvester efficiency are heavily dependent on physical world dynamics, and thus, self-powered devices that are statically configured or that just respond to instantaneous conditions are unlikely to provide the dependability required for many IoT systems and applications. To address this fundamental and critically enabling challenge, data collections will be performed to study the physical world dynamics that impact device operation and harvester efficiency, such as ambient conditions, electromagnetic interference, and human behavior. This scientific study will lead to the development of dynamic models that will, in turn, be used to develop algorithms to dynamically configure devices and harvesters based not only on past and current conditions but also on predictions of future conditions. These algorithms will then be used to dynamically configure technological innovations in ultra-low power device operation and ultra-high efficiency energy harvesting to engineer and operate dependable self-powered things for the IoT.

Effective start/end date9/15/168/31/20


  • National Science Foundation: $267,000.00


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