Sensors Midwest 2018: Power To The Passives

When we talk about components, we often segregate them into two groups: active and passive. We define active components as those that require power – voltage, current, etc. – to operate and passive as those components that do not require power to function but do have some effect on power passing through them. Some examples of passive components include resistors, capacitors, and inductors. Some active components include diodes of all varieties, transistors, and varistors.


Sensors are also divided into two basic groups, you guessed it, active and passive, but their descriptions vary. One description from an engineering forum follows closely to that of active/passive components.  A passive sensor detects and responds to some type of input, i.e., light, heat, moisture, pressure, etc. An active sensor needs an external source of power to operate. Depending on the application, both types can be used to detect the same environmental conditions.

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It would seem logical that the same description would apply. Active requires power, passive does not would keep things really simple, but logic sometimes has to take a backseat. According to Wikipedia, passive sensors do require an external power source to operate, which is called an excitation signal. The signal is modulated by the sensor to produce an output signal. For example, a thermistor does not generate any electrical signal, but by passing an electric current through it, its resistance can be measured by detecting variations in the current or voltage across the thermistor. Active sensors, in contrast, generate an electric current in response to an external stimulus which serves as the output signal without the need of an additional energy source. Examples include photodiodes, piezoelectric sensors, and thermocouples.


Based on numerous tech articles and accepted practices, this definition bodes accurate, which brings us to the crux of the matter. The Internet of Things (IoT), Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industry 4.0, cloud and edge computing, all emerging technologies, are requiring the deployment of massive quantities of sensors, both active and passive. And they all need some source of power. What’s a concerned electronics engineer/designer supposed to do?


You can learn how to drive all those active and passive sensors at Sensors Midwest 2018 in Rosemont, IL by attending the educational session titled “Powered to Passive IoT Sensors” on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 from 2:00 pm to 2:50 pm in Theater 1. Teslonix Inc., (The Passive IoT Connectivity Company), CTO and IoT visionary, Vytas Kezys will provide attendees with a comprehensive set of strategies and solutions.


As the IoT industry continues to expand, the growth of low-cost passive IoT sensors is being hampered by the technical challenge of powering the devices from a distance. With solutions based on the ability to coherently combine energizing signals, hence get more energy to the devices starting to reach the market, is this issue finally resolved and can the growth of passive IoT devices finally start to develop as predicted? This session answers this and other critical power questions, as well as presenting strategies to overcome the challenges of mass sensor deployment.


Vytas Kezys is an experienced technical strategist and a recognized leader in mobile wireless. His career focuses on leveraging a broad technical background and concept-to-product experience to develop leading wireless solutions. He pioneered work in array signal processing including early development of MU-MIMO and has demonstrated expertise in a wide range of fields including Wi-Fi, RF propagation, statistical signal processing, indoor navigation, and sensor fusion/SLAM.


Prior to working with Teslonix as CTO, he was Director of Advanced Connectivity at Blackberry where he developed  their first Wi-Fi enabled handhelds and drove the adoption of various connectivity technologies. Vytas was the Founder and President of TalariCom where he led the development of smart antenna technologies. He was Principal Research Engineer at the Communications Research Laboratory, McMaster University. Vytas has held numerous consulting positions and is an inventor credited with over 30 patents. He holds a B.Eng. degree in Electrical Engineering from McMaster University.


Okay, you’ve got one trillion sensors, an even and odd mix of passive and active, and you don’t know how to power them up efficiently. You can find out how by executing an extremely easy two-step process:

  1. Register for Sensors Midwest 2018.
  2. Attend the “Powered to Passive IoT Sensors” session, Tuesday, October 16, 2018 from 2:00 pm to 2:50 pm in Theater 1. 

Also, checkout the conference schedule for related sessions and the exhibitor lineup for presentations of the latest sensors and sensor-related products plus a plethora of other technologies.


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