The only company currently productizing general purpose RF power harvesting technology.

Powercast’s P2100 Powerharvester™ module is one of several components from the company that convert RF energy into DC. The Powerharvester won a Gold award in the sensor components category at Sensors Expo 2009. As we continue to spotlight the winners of the 2009 Best of Sensors Expo Awards, PD&D sat down with Powercast to discuss the Powerharvester.

PD&D Design Daily: What sets the Powerharvester apart from the competition?

Powercast: As far as we know, Powercast is the only company currently productizing general purpose RF power harvesting technology. 

Unlike other forms of ambient energy harvesting, a dedicated transmitter can be used to send power, over distance, to one or more devices. A wireless power system can be engineered to meet the desired specifications, and power can be sent continuously, on a scheduled basis, or on-demand.

Design Daily: How has the industry responded to the Powerharvester? What applications has it been used in?

Powercast: We’ve had a growing interest in all of our Powerharvester modules.  Versions of the technology have been used in custom development projects, and the productized versions are being evaluated by a number of companies for wireless power applications. 

We’ve integrated our components with a range of devices to demonstrate performance and functionality. Battery-free wireless sensors is the target application of the P2100 module.

Design Daily: How does the Powerharvester “demonstrate exceptional innovation, integration, ease of use, and address real needs?”

Powercast: The P2100 was designed with the intention of increasing the operational range of wireless power and enabling wireless sensors to be battery-free. 

As a single component, the P2100 converts RF to DC, manages the charge on a capacitor, switches the output power, and converts the stored energy to a configurable output voltage. 

The component can be easily integrated into any PCB design and works with standard 50 ohm antennas. The undesirable maintenance costs of battery replacement are holding back large-scale deployment of wireless sensors, but the P2100 eliminates batteries in these devices creating a maintenance-free deployment.

Design Daily: Who was instrumental in the product’s development?

Powercast: Powercast’s CTO, Charlie Greene, was the principal designer of the circuitry inside the P2100.

Design Daily: Do you see potential to repeat and receive another glass statue next year?

Powercast: We’re intending to make performance improvements and feature enhancements to our Powerharvester modules. Hopefully we’ll have enough innovation to earn another award.

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