A group of engineers from the National University of Singapore has created a microchip that can self-start and continue to operate even when the battery completely drains. Tagged as “Batless”, this microchip could help in manufacturing smaller and cheaper Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
Batless was created and designed with a novel power management technique. It can start itself and can continue to function without any battery assistance under the dim light by only using a very small on-chip solar cell. With this new chip, the batteries which are required to power IoT sensor nodes has been engineered in a smaller size, making them much cheaper and handy than a regular IOT battery.
"We have demonstrated that batteries used for IoT devices can be shrunk substantially as they do not always need to be available to maintain continuous operation," says, research leader Massimo Alioto.
This new development was presented at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) 2018 conference in San Francisco. Right now the batteries which are being used in IoT devices are much larger and up to three times more expensive than the single chip they power, so Batless could become a great solution for IoT batteries.
"Batless is the first example of a new class of chips that are indifferent to battery charge availability. In the minimum-power mode, it uses 1,000 to 100,000 times less power, compared to the best existing microcontrollers designed for fixed minimum-energy operation," Massimo Alioto added.