Multi-sensor platform progresses towards battery-less IoT

Believed to be the industry’s lowest power Bluetooth radio, the RSL10 multi-sensor platform from ON Semiconductor is powered solely with a solar cell. It is another step to enable battery-less and maintenance-free IoT, says ON Semiconductor.

The platform supports the development of IoT sensors using continuous solar energy harvesting to gather and communicate data through Bluetooth Low Energy, without the need for batteries or other forms of non-renewable energy.

The combination of low-power wireless communications, small form factor solar cell and low duty cycle sensing applications makes it possible to develop and deploy maintenance-free IoT sensor nodes. The RSL10 solar cell multi-sensor platform is enabled by the RSL10 SIP, a system-in-package (SiP) featuring the RSL10 radio, integrated antenna and all passive components.

The RSL10 SiP is combined with a solar cell and low power sensors from Bosch Sensortec, including the BME280 all-in-one environmental sensor (pressure, temperature, humidity) and the BMA400 low power, three-axis accelerometer. ON Semiconductor predicts that together, they will allow developers and manufacturers to create complete IoT nodes that are entirely powered through renewable energy or energy harvested from the sensor’s surroundings.

“After the success of the RSL10 Sensor Development Kit, we are thrilled to work with ON Semiconductor on a new cutting-edge sensor development platform that is entirely solar powered,” said Dr. Peter Weigand, vice president of marketing, Bosch Sensortec.

Commenting on the release of the RSL10 solar cell multi-sensor platform, Wiren Perera, who heads IoT at ON Semiconductor, said: “To support the growth of IoT, manufacturers are actively investigating alternative sources of energy to power their designs, helping to reduce environmental impact and lower manufacturing and maintenance costs. With this solution, established on the RSL10 Bluetooth Low Energy radio, we are proving that a battery-free and maintenance-free approach to smart sensor development is not only possible but can help manufacturers improve their designs.”

There are a growing number of IoT sensor applications where the duty cycle is low enough to support intermittent communications, allowing the energy needed to support operation to be harvested using renewable sources. The energy efficiency of the RSL10 is augmented by the highly efficient power management system and the low power sensors implemented in the platform.

Potential applications include smart home and building automation such as HVAC control, window/door sensors and air quality monitoring. Asset tracking including package open/close detection, shock monitoring, and temperature and humidity data logging are also possible applications.

The platform is supplied with all design files (Gerber, schematic and BoM) and customisable source code as part of a CMSIS software package.

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