A chip requiring 50 million times less energy than a conventional bulb has been created at a university in Spain.
The energy requirements of the chip developed by a team at the Public University of Navarre are so low it could possibly be powered by the energy harvested from the environment
Utilising ambient energy created by light, vibrations or temperature variations would secure complete energy autonomy as the chip wouldn’t require any additional batteries.
A paper describing the chip, written jointly by Antonio López-Martín, a Professor of the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering at the University of Nevarra, and a telecommunications engineering student Iñigo Cenoz-Villanueva, was selected the best paper at the 7th International Conference on Sensing Technology held in Wellington (New Zealand) in December.
The device could be used in wireless sensor networks, possibly finding applications in railway intelligence infrastructure.
The chip itself consists of a sensor node detecting parameters of the surrounding environment, such as temperature, humidity or even heart rate, and actuators capable of switching devices on or off.
Individual sensors and actuators communicate with each other wirelessly over the Internet or radio waves.