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Energy harvesting active networked tags (EnHANTs) for ubiquitous object networking

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6 Author(s)

This article presents the design challenges posed by a new class of ultra-low-power devices referred to as Energy-Harvesting Active Networked Tags (EnHANTs). EnHANTs are small, flexible, and self-reliant (in terms of energy) devices that can be attached to objects that are traditionally not networked (e.g., books, furniture, walls, doors, toys, keys, produce, and clothing). EnHANTs will enable the Internet of Things by providing the infrastructure for various novel tracking applications. Examples of these applications include locating misplaced items, continuous monitoring of objects, and determining locations of disaster survivors. Recent advances in ultra-low-power circuit design, ultra-wideband (UWB) wireless communications, and organic energy harvesting techniques will enable the realization of EnHANTs in the near future. The harvesting components and the ultra-low-power physical layer have special characteristics whose implications on the higher layers have yet to be studied (e.g., when using UWB communications, the energy required to receive a bit is significantly higher than the energy required to transmit a bit). In this article, we describe paradigm shifts associated with technologies that enable EnHANTs and demonstrate their implications on higher-layer protocols. Moreover, we describe some of the components we have designed for EnHANTs. Finally, we briefly discuss our indoor light measurements and their implications on the design of higher-layer protocols.

Published in:

Wireless Communications, IEEE  (Volume:17 ,  Issue: 6 )