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Journal of Sensors and Sensor Systems An open-access peer-reviewed journal
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Volume 7, issue 1
J. Sens. Sens. Syst., 7, 299-308, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/jsss-7-299-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
J. Sens. Sens. Syst., 7, 299-308, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/jsss-7-299-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Feature article 19 Apr 2018

Feature article | 19 Apr 2018

Autonomous micro-platform for multisensors with an advanced power management unit (PMU)

Pierre Bellier, Philippe Laurent, Serguei Stoukatch, François Dupont, Laura Joris, and Michael Kraft Pierre Bellier et al.
  • Microsys Lab, University of Liege, Liege, 4000, Belgium

Abstract. In this work, we developed and characterised an autonomous micro-platform including several types of sensors, an advanced power management unit (PMU) and radio frequency (RF) transmission capabilities. Autonomy requires integration of an energy harvester, an energy storage device, a PMU, ultra-low-power components (including sensors) and optimized software. Our choice was to use commercial off-the-shelf components with low-power consumption, low cost and compactness as selection criteria. For the multi-purpose micro-platform, we choose to include the most common sensors (such as temperature, humidity, luminosity, acceleration, etc.) and to integrate them in one miniaturised autonomous device.

A processing unit is embedded in the system. It allows for data acquisition from each sensor individually, simple data processing, and storing and/or wireless data transmission. Such a system can be used as stand-alone, with an internal storage in a non-volatile memory, or as a node in a wireless network, with bi-directional communication with a hub device where data can be analysed further. According to specific application requirements, system settings can be adjusted, such as the sampling rate, the resolution and the processing of the sensor data.

Parallel to full autonomous functionality, the low-power design enables us to power the system by a small battery leading to a high degree of autonomy at a high sampling rate. Therefore, we also developed an alternative battery-powered version of the micro-platform that increases the range of applications. As such, the system is highly versatile and due to its reduced dimensions, it can be used nearly everywhere. Typical applications include the Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, home automation and building structural health monitoring.

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An original platform embedding multiple sensors and an energy harvesting unit is described. It is versatile and requires little or no maintenance. Multiple platforms can be connected to a hub device in a wireless sensor network. Emphasis was put on the reduction of power consumption and on the energy harvesting unit. With the addition of a small solar panel the system can be fully autonomous indoors. Characterization of power consumption and a test in real-world operation are presented.
An original platform embedding multiple sensors and an energy harvesting unit is described. It...
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