Battery-Free Leak Monitoring
Led by Jason O. Hallstrom, Ph.D.
Jason O. Hallstrom, Ph.D., serves as Director of Florida Atlantic University’s Institute for Sensing and Embedded Network Systems Engineering (I-SENSE), which coordinates FAU’s activities in Sensing and Smart Systems. He holds a B.S. in Systems Analysis, an M.A. in Economics, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer and Information Science. His expertise is in the design, deployment, and management of wireless sensing infrastructure, with an emphasis on sensor platform design. His work is currently supported through the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and NOAA (via subcontract from Coastal Carolina University) and was previously supported through the NSF, EPA, USDA, NASA, and other entities.
This REU project is focused on enabling battery-free sensing systems that are inherently robust and adaptive in the presence of dynamic load and harvesting conditions – conditions that are anticipated to be pervasive in the emerging Internet of Things.
The approach begins with the concept of federated energy storage, where each hardware component (e.g., sensor, radio, storage) is powered by a dedicated, appropriately sized capacitor. The architectural extensions being developed will enable dynamic control of charge and discharge priorities via a microcontroller core, as well as real-valued inputs concerning each component’s charge state (e.g., five transmissions remaining for the radio). The REU participant will focus on prototyping and evaluating a central sub-circuit of this architecture: Each capacitor will be increased in size to enable charging at a native harvesting voltage, above that used by the associated component. The capacitor will serve as the input stage to a buck regulator that will down-regulate the voltage as appropriate for the associated component. Control of the charge and discharge pathways will be controlled externally, emulating a microcontroller. The participant will explore variations on this sub-circuit design, evaluating changes in capacitor size, regulator selection, charge current, and discharge current on the operation of the sub-circuit. The project will provide a meaningful experience for the participant, while contributing to Jason O. Hallstrom’s ongoing work in this area.