Jennic to Demonstrate Ultra Low-Power Zigbee-Based Transmissions

Oct 30 2009 | 9:38am ET

UK-based Jennic, a manufacturer of 32-bit wireless microcontrollers, has demonstrated the capability of its JN5148 to perform multiple packet transmissions from 100µJ of energy harvested from an electro-mechanical switch.

Jennic is the first wireless microcontroller vendor to show ZigBee communications are possible with energy consumption of just 100µJ. The demonstrator shows how a single switch press is all that is required to enable the JN5148 to carry out system startup and initialization, followed by a succession of packet transmissions to increase the probability of packet delivery to the receiver.

Jennic previously announced a series of energy harvesting technology demonstrators utilizing thermal, vibrational, RF and solar energy harvesting techniques to power end devices in a wireless sensor network. By employing a powered wireless backbone that contains permanently active Proxy Server Routers, energy constrained end devices can broadcast data when they are able, relying on the backbone to intercept the data messages. This latest announcement sees Jennic utilizing the same approach but with even lower energy budgets.

Jimi Simpson, Jennic product marketing, said in a statement, “Utilizing the limited and instantaneous energy from an electro-mechanical switch harvester presented many design challenges. By optimizing system initialization speeds and developing an enhanced communications infrastructure to support energy constrained sensor nodes, Jennic’s engineers ensured sufficient energy was left over for a minimum of three packet transmissions to increase the probability of packet delivery to the receiver. The JN5148 totally hit the mark, consuming what in essence equates to an average of 7mA at 2volts for 7ms, the 100µJ budget.”

This latest demonstrator will find particular interest in application of home automation (HA) and commercial building automation (CBA) lighting solutions, where wireless, battery-less light switches will control the lighting within the building, minimizing the costs associated with cable installation and maintenance. It also links directly with ZigBee’s Green Power standardization efforts for the integration of wireless, battery-less light switches with ZigBee HA networks.

ZigBee is a low-cost, low-power, wireless mesh networking proprietary standard.

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