Building battery-free electronic devices with CircuitPython #CircuitPython @techxplore_com
Computer engineers from Northwestern University and Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) introduces a new platform that enables makers, hobbyists and novice programmers to build their own battery-free electronic devices that run with intermittent, harvested energy.
BFree is a system which includes energy-harvesting hardware (the BFree Shield) and a power-failure-resistant version of CircuitPython, one of the most accessible and most used programming languages. All the user needs is a basic understanding of Python in order to quickly and easily turn any do-it-yourself (DIY) smart device into a battery-free version. With this technology, novice programmers can now turn their DIY battery-powered motion sensor, for example, into a solar-powered sensor with an infinite lifetime.
“Right now, it’s virtually impossible for hobbyists to develop devices with battery-free hardware, so we wanted to democratize our battery-free platform,” said Northwestern’s Josiah Hester, who co-led the work. “Makers all over the internet are asking how to extend their devices’ battery life. They are asking the wrong question. We want them to forget about the battery and instead think about more sustainable ways to generate energy.”
When devices bypass the battery and instead rely on energy harvesting, the power supply is no longer constant. If the sun goes behind a cloud, for example, then solar power might be temporarily disrupted.
With BFree, researchers have solved this issue. The technology enables devices to run perpetually with intermittent energy. When power is interrupted, BFree pauses calculations. When power returns, it automatically resumes where it left off without losing memory or needing to run through a long list of operations before restarting.
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