Powercast Corporation and InPlay have created a platform for designing battery-free, maintenance-free, long-range wireless IoT sensor systems that deploy easily for monitoring in the retail, medical, warehousing, and industrial IoT markets.
Powercast (booth #641) and InPlay (booth #333) will both demonstrate at Sensors Converge in San Jose how Powercast’s RF-to-DC power harvesting technology is a compelling new option to power InPlay’s active Bluetooth sensor IN100, the first of InPlay’s NanoBeacon SoC family. The IN100 can be attached to nearly anything for real-time location monitoring and paired with sensors to monitor conditions such as light, humidity, and temperature.
Previously documented to power sensors over 80 feet, Powercast’s far-field wireless technology has now powered the NanoBeacon IN100 from 120 feet away from the commercially-available PowerSpot transmitter, enabling a beacon signal every minute. NanoBeacon’s low-power design, which features fast start-up and data transmission using only microwatts of power, supports Powercast in achieving this performance. As the NanoBeacon moves farther from Powercast’s RF transmitter, beacon signals become less frequent, while moving it closer allows more frequency if the application requires it.
The new distance achievement is also due to Powercast’s new reference design for its PCC110 Powerharvester chip and companion PCC210 boost converter, which join forces to harvest RF out of the air with up to 75 percent efficiency. The company recently increased its R&D department to push the boundaries of RF power-over-distance technology and reduce costs so it can become ubiquitous.
InPlay’s NanoBeacon SoC family aims to make smart sensor systems using active RFID technology affordable and easy to deploy, via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). It’s easily configured via an app, requires no software programming, transmits data up to 300 feet, and features software-defined radio (SDR) edge networking to connect tens of thousands of IoT devices.