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An autonomous sensor is a device that is generally able to perform its task without being connected to the interrogation unit. Its power supply is integrated in the device, and very often a harvesting mechanism is used for its energy production and is able to totally or partially power the device operation. There has been broad and rapid evolution in the fi eld of autonomous sensors. Emerging application fields, the need to increase the life of electronic devices, increased computational capabilities that require more energy and drastic reduction in device volume have been drivers of this field. Power management and wireless connection are becoming major issues in many applications. Research communities all over the world are working to fi nd solutions and harvesting methods to optimize the power issue in sensors with the specific goal of implementing autonomous sensors. We discuss these concepts and two examples: an autonomous sensing device and an energy harvester.
Date of Publication: June 2010