NSF ICORPS (6/16 - 1/17)

Project Description

DeepBeam: Distributed Software-Defined Wireless Charging Over Distance (June 2016 - Jan 2017)
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The Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) is a set of activities and programs that prepares scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and broadens the impact of select basic-research projects. DeepBeam I-Corps project is concerned with developing technology that allows wireless energy transfer through the distributed action of multiple energy transmitters (ETs) emitting radio frequency (RF) radiation, as well as building high efficiency energy harvesting circuits that can interface with o the-shelf sensors. This system will ultimately benefit end-users of both mobile phones and sensors as well as the growing application areas of Internet of Things (IoTs). IoT touches society, both at a personal level (wearables) as well as at the community scale (smart cities). However, when hundreds or even thousands of sensors are deployed at scale, how to replenish the battery without retrieving them and performing costly maintenance tasks remains a challenge.

The proposed innovation concerning wireless energy transfer is envisaged to bridge this gap, directly addressing the market needs of deploying and sustaining these sensors without human intervention. A profile of the typical customer of the proposed innovation would be phone users (B2C), sensor providers (medical device companies, automobile manufacturers, smart home sensor suppliers, etc.) (B2B), and medical sensors (B2B). The main need of such customers that currently causes installation and usage bottleneck is an easy way for on-demand charging without requirements to replace the physical battery, find a fixed power source, and connect each device with a cable. The current battery and wire-based charging solutions limit the user’s mobility during charging, at times require ceasing operation of the device during charging, need frequent battery replacements, as well as require careful monitoring of the sensor battery's health in critical applications such as patient and care of aging individuals.