Many market leaders in the internet of things (IoT) predicted that the IoT will begin to free itself from battery power. Without reducing the reliance on battery power, there is a significant roadblock in reaching trillions of IoT devices. Future devices will need to be self-sufficient and operate without any battery swaps or any human intervention for decades. This will be made possible through harvesting of all the available ambient energy in the environment. Examples include thermal energy associated with static and dynamic temperature differences; vibrational energy from vehicles driving over a bridge or oil following through a pipe; and light energy from indoor artificial lighting. The current barrier is micro-energy harvesting systems that can effectively capture all available energy using just one energy management device. The technical challenge is that each type of energy harvester has widely different electrical characteristics that must be managed. Photovoltaic and thermoelectric harvesters are low-voltage DC, resistive, “trickle” sources; electrodynamic harvesters are high-voltage, inductive, “pulsed” sources whilst piezoelectric harvesters are high-voltage AC, capacitive, “bursty” sources. Trameto is now developing the OptiJoule™ (previously branded HavrestAll®) energy management integrated circuit (EMIC). OptiJoule™ overcomes this challenge and enables energy harvesting from any-single harvester type, many identical harvesters and multiple-different harvester types. The aim of this project is to deliver OptiJoule™, as samples for evaluation internally and by selected customers; to feed into pre-production EMIC sample development. The project will develop an EMIC that can be adopted into new systems and be specified as part of third-party reference designs. The project has two key deliverables to achieve this aim: firstly, to develop OptiJoule™ as an engineering sample and secondly to subsequently develop OptiJoule™ to TRL8 and pre-production status.
We have translated the latest market intelligence, customer needs & feedback into a market requirements document, specification and technical datasheet for OptiJoule™. In order to deliver OptiJoule™, we have evaluated and selected device manufacturers and supply chain partners with capacity to scale to millions of units per quarter at a cost that meets our target for the cost of goods sold at high volume. Today agreements and contracts have been signed with leading supply chain partners, including wafer aggregators, device manufacture, and device packaging companies. In addition, we have signed licence agreements with EDA tool providers. We have designed an engineering sample of OptiJoule™ that will be used for internal/customer evaluation via the use of a multi-project wafer to mitigate engineering and financial risk. This device is in the process of being manufactured by our manufacturing partner. Work is ongoing on the specification, the associated test environment requirements and design for a bring-up board to test OptiJoule™. We are also currently working on the development of customer facing collateral leading to joint reference designs (with lead partners) to support market engagement and drive business development activities for OptiJoule™.