No battery? That’s no problem for the future Internet of Things #IoT #InternetOfThings @BulletinAtomic

Experts have forecast that by 2035, over a trillion connected devices will make up the so-called Internet of Things. All those devices will need power, and batteries are an incredibly environmentally destructive energy source. The mining of lithium—a key element in today’s rechargeable batteries—uses excessive amounts of water and, in some cases, has displaced indigenous tribes whose members live on top of the valuable resource. Also, when batteries die, they leach toxins into and out of the municipal landfills where they too often wind up.

The field is called “intermittent computing,” it attempts to solve that problem. The ultra-low power devices Josiah Hester builds—including a prototype batteryless Gameboy powered by the game’s button presses plus solar energy—must be able save what they’re doing in milliseconds when they lose power and restart instantly when they get more juice. That requires innovations such as operating systems and software that can handle frequent power losses, new types of non-volatile memory, low-power screens, and innovative new ways to generate energy.

Hester calls the Gameboy project an example of “design provocation,” a way to encourage the development of new and creative solutions to big problems. “You do things like the Gameboy like, ‘look, this is possible.’ Because the general population just has no idea that this is possible. They just accept, as the default, batteries. So, you show them a different way.”

Now, Hester says he’s seeing a sea change brought on by the urgency of the climate crisis—an “explosion of interest” and funding support for his alternative solution: tiny, ubiquitous, long-lasting, energy-harvesting sensors and computing devices that don’t need batteries.

Hester plans to keep running a (now rapidly growing) lab where students feel comfortable coming together to design cutting-edge devices that will shape the future of computing.

Read much more in the article here.

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here:

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in!

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community!

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers –

Maker Business — Making sure the CHIPS act isn’t just crumbs

Wearables — And now a word on laser ettiquette

Electronics — Capacitor ESR

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: New Thonny and Git Versions, Plenty of Projects and More! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — JP’s Product Pick of the Week — 4pm Eastern TODAY! 6/6/23 @adafruit #adafruit #newproductpick

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at !

1 Comment

  1. Nice article. New ideas about computing without batteries, but this isn’t completely surprising to people who do IoT, with deep sleep to save power.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.