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Wireless sensing architecture `sets new standards`

11 November, 2008

The Siemens wireless sensing spin-off EnOcean has announced an architecture that, it says, will set new standards for wireless sensing networks. The system, called Dolphin, will result in actuators with their own energy sources, wireless sensors that communicate in two directions, and new routing concepts, creating the foundation for a variety of new products and applications, according to EnOcean.

The technology includes energy-autonomous actuators that draw their energy from Peltier (thermoelectric) elements that generate electricity from differences in temperature. The actuator’s processor can communicate bidirectionally with a central control point so that the actuator draws power only when needed. Initial applications for these actuators are likely to include controlling heating radiator valves.  

The system also includes two transceiver modules: the TCM 300 bidirectional transceiver, which needs half the standby power of EnOcean’s previous modules; and the STM 300 module for energy-autonomous applications.

The TCM 300 module draws around 15mA from a 2.5–3.3V supply when transmitting, and 30mA when receiving. It includes a 10-bit A/D converter offering four times the sensing resolution of its predecessor.

The STM 300, in addition, manages converters that harvest small amounts of energy from vibration, rotation, light or differences in temperature. This energy is used to power the bidirectional transceiver.

EnOcean is also launching an operating system that allows application-specific programs to be written in the high-level C language.

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