Sensors Expo & Conference 2019: Energy Harvesting Still Young & Growing


Energy harvesting, culling electrical energy from a variety of sources other than batteries, power adapters, or a wall outlet, is a technology still in its formative moments, but holds great promise for the future. When you think about the trillions of wireless sensors and other devices that will be deployed across the IoT and IIoT, as well as the plethora of devices we use now that run off batteries and external power supplies, being able to have them generate and use their own power will provide savings beyond the money spent on batteries and the time it would take to replace/recharge them. Think of the environmental benefits such as fewer carbon emissions and no longer having dead, toxic batteries to dispose of. Not a bad deal all the way around.

Obviously, sensors and energy harvesting go together like orange and chocolate. With the mass deployment of wireless sensors that will be monitoring just about every electrical and environmental parameter, as well as watching everyone and recording what they say and do, it will be highly impractical to have a battery, no matter how small or efficient, in every component.

Understandably, not everyone in the tech community is on board with energy harvesting. For one reason, currently available energy-harvesting components and topologies do not generate enough voltage/current to power larger devices, a situation that may or may not exist further into the future. Another reason is some companies have a lot invested in traditional power sources and it would not be economically wise or feasible to retool now.

A very common hurdle energy harvesting needs to clear is providing the market with functional education on the technology, its applications, and possibilities for now and well into the future. There seems to be a void, not only in available educational resources, but in new products for energy harvesting applications. However, that issue can be quickly resolved.

At Sensors Expo & Conference 2019 in San Jose, CA, on Tuesday, June 25 from 9 AM to 5 PM PST, the “Pre-Conference Symposium 2: Designing for Energy Harvesting & Energy Efficiency – Tutorials” will provide attendees with a wealth of information, tutorials, insights, and applications for developing a strategy for employing energy harvesting in their new and existing designs. The track and sessions will be hosted and chaired by Randy Frank of Randy Frank & Associates.

One of the topics that will be addressed is one of the most common sources for energy harvesting: vibration. When any object vibrates in just about any direction or manner, electricity is generated by friction. Be it the rubbing of objects together or the movement of air, energy is generated and it’s ripe for harvesting. One of the presenters who will provide great insights into this area is Karim El-Rayes. Speaking at 10 AM on June 25, Karim will focus on Case Studies of Vibration Energy Harvesting in Action.

Karim El-Rayes is a PhD. candidate and research associate at the University of Waterloo, Canada. His research interests range from vibrations-based energy harvesting to self-driving vehicles, sensor technology, and instrumentation for industrial and scientific applications. With 10+ years of experience in energy harvesting and sensor technologies, and 15 research papers under his belt, he holds several patents and has penned articles published in many journals.

Mr. El-Rayes is no stranger to sensors expo. An avid attendee, he says, “This is my fourth time at Sensors Expo. I believe one word can summarize all the reasons that bring me back: the atmosphere. It has been always a great gathering for all folks in the sensors industry, where you get to meet a broad spectrum of people engaged in the industry from hobbyists to business leaders.”

As a presenter he will be “talking about case studies in vibration energy harvesting. Starting with an overview of the technology then taking a deeper look at applications from academia and industry.”

When asked what’s the one most important concept, revelation, and/or insight that he wants his audience to leave with, Karim states, “Vibration energy harvesting is a relatively new technology that needs adopters, and I hope through my session to increase the awareness of it.”

Additionally, Karim adds, “I will be attending other sessions for sure. And of course, I will be visiting almost every booth on the expo floor, that has been my habit every time I attended the expo. You can't miss such an amazing opportunity to talk to manufacturers and powerhouses and learn more about breakthroughs in the field of sensors.”

By now you should be charged up and ready to get your energy-harvesting chops in shape and up to speed. And you can get started now by registering for Sensors Expo. Then all you have to do is attend the “Pre-Conference Symposium 2: Designing for Energy Harvesting & Energy Efficiency – Tutorials” at Sensors Expo & Conference 2019 in San Jose, CA, on Tuesday, June 25 starting at 9 AM PST. Now, how easy is that? ~MD