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Low-power radio module for Internet of Things

Power consumption remains a limiting factor with devices that need to be portable and this affects what can be achieved with the Internet of Things (IoT). This problem could be overcome through the use of an ultra-low power radio module platform, which has been designed by the company Radiocrafts AS (based in Oslo, Norway).

The ultra-low power radio, according to Smart2Zero, can be used for smart metering, a range of IoT connected devices, and with wireless sensor networks applications. The compact radio frequency module can also be used with 6LoWPAN based IP networks.

The device is formed from a series of compact surface-mounted ultra-low power radio frequency modules, following the design of the Texas Instruments CC1310 system-on-chip. The modules consists of a low power radio frequency transceiver (IEEE 802.15.4g compliant) and a Wireless M-Bus.

The lower power arises from the radio only consuming 5.5 mA in receive mode and 22 mA during transmission mode. The device is also compact, with the surface mount modules measuring just 12.7- x 25.4 millimeters.

In separate IoT sensor news, Northeastern University technologists have designed a dormant sensor that sparks into action only when a signal of interest is registered. This allows for near unlimited duration of operation since the device uses virtually zero stand-by power.

The senor includes a grid of nanoscale patches, formed from plasmonically enhanced micromechanical photoswitches. These switches selectively harvest electromagnetic energy in design-defined spectral bands of interest, according to Phys.org.

The sensor has been designed with U.S. national security interests in mind (such as identifying of gasoline-powered vehicles from their emissions). Beyond state security, the sensors will also have wider business interest too in terms of developing IoT and connected security systems. The technology allows for sensors to detect infra-red energy in the environment and to determine if the detected energy derives from a fire, vehicle, person, or some other source.

The zero stand-by power sensor has been described in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, with the paper headed “Zero-power infrared digitizers based on plasmonically enhanced micromechanical photoswitches.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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