Sensors Expo Presenters Inform, Enlighten And Inspire

Sensors Insights by Mat Dirjish

As the name implies, the main focus of Sensors Expo is, you guessed it, sensors. And although you will see the most up-to-the-microsecond sensor products at the show, you will also get the golden opportunity to see, learn, and understand how all other technologies intersect and interface with sensors. Obviously, the largest area of interest is where all technologies past, present, and future will mingle: under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). There will be no shortage of presentations on that concept.

As an enticement, we'll take a brief look at some of the diverse topics that will be on tap, presented by an equally diverse group of experts. First up is Pierre Mars, Vice President of Quality & Applications Engineering at CAP-XX Supercapacitors.

Pierre states, "My presentation will be using supercapacitors to support high pulse power applications from low power energy sources." He describes his session as follows: "To capture and report data, many sensor applications require a short burst of power which exceeds the power available from a low power energy source such as a small energy harvester. A supercapacitor is an ideal power buffer that can be charged at low power from the energy source and provide periodic or sporadic pulse power to support the application. Reporting frequency is constrained by the power budget. Supercapacitors are not limited by electrochemical charge storage so have "infinite" cycle life and simpler charging requirements that batteries. This paper will review supercapacitor properties an engineer should be aware of when designing with supercapacitors, and explore supercapacitor charging circuits using case studies with solar and vibration transducers.

Pierre hopes that attendees of his presentation will walk away with an understanding of:

  • how to use supercapacitors to enable applications where peak power > source power available,
  • how to define their power budget to make this possible,
  • the importance of characterizing their energy harvester
  • supercapacitor properties to enable design of suitable charging circuits

As a side benefit of attending Sensors Expo, Pierre plans to meet engineers who wish to use supercapacitors in their projects and exchange information on applications. CAP-XX will be at booth 944 where attendees should visit and discuss their applications in more detail.

Tony Armstrong, Director of Product Marketing of Power Products at Linear Technology Corporation will be on hand. He will talk with about the various energy management strategies and solutions which can be used for operating and powering wireless sensor networks (WSNs). Tony will try to cover a number of the different approaches and methodologies that can be used to power wireless sensors, and at the same time, give attendees an indication of their benefits and also their drawbacks.

First and foremost, Tony wants his listeners to learn that harvested ambient energy can be used to power wireless sensors without the need for a battery. He hopes to dispel any paranoia of not having energy available, eliminating dependency on a battery for insurance purposes. Secondly, he wants them to know that IC energy harvesters are available that have all the necessary features to power WSNs. These features include low quiescent current (in nano amps), low start-up voltages, and power-path control to correctly prioritize multiple input sources when powering the downstream load.

Briefly put, Tony states, "I hope to impart my knowledge of what is possible or not, when it comes to powering WSNs with energy harvesters so that I can enable the designers of such systems to make practical and educated choices for their WSN systems." Linear Technology will be at booth 940, stop by and learn more.

Coming from yet another arena in the techno sphere, Steve Malkos, Technical Program Manager, Google bring his Global Positioning system (GPS) expertise to table. Steve points out, "During my talk, I'll go over my background (I'm a GPS guy), Google's vision, and my Android Location and Context Group team's plans around sensors and location. I'll discuss how my team uses sensors today and showcase some future examples on where we are taking the use of sensors to in the future."

Steve hopes his audience will learn that, "The future is already here, sensors are becoming 'the fabric of our lives', but we've only scratched the surface of this amazing technology. My hope is that the audience truly understands the importance of these sensors and heavily invests in future sensors to bring better quality and accuracy at lower power." In turn, at Sensors Expo, Steve "hopes to see the awesome innovative future of sensors and where our industry leaders are taking Sensors to next."

And that's exactly what you will see at Sensors Expo 2016. With experts like Pierre Mars, Tony Armstrong, and Steve Malkos steering the ship, you will learn the innovative future of sensors while being enlightened and inspired to be an integral part of that future. ~MD

About the Author

Mat Dirjish is Executive Editor of Sensors magazine. He can be reached at [email protected].

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