Self-powered Stand-Alone Sensing System


BioRobotics Institute Role: 

Project Lifetime
Dec 2012 to Dec 2013

Funding Institutions: 

Telecom Italia within the Working Capital Initiative

SSSA Total Cost: 
30K Euro

Sensor units located on moving elements of robotic, consumer, automotive, medical, telecommunication systems are affected by several drawbacks in the routing of power and communication electrical connections. As an example, this is particularly evident while considering sensors integrated into the distal phalanxes of robotic hands, since their mobility and robustness could be impaired by hardwired connections.
To comply with this limitation, state of the art artificial tactile systems lack in reproducing the huge quantity and density of sensing units of the human hand. Also, battery-supplied systems provided with wireless communication are affected by the finite amount of the stored energy, and by the inertia introduced by battery units located distally on moving parts.
The recent advancements in energy harvesting technology allow to overcome such limitations, in order to power sensors, conditioning and ultra low-power RF electronics, and to store the energy into a battery module with reduced encumbrance and weight.
The research activity funded within the SensAlone Working Capital grant will focus on the development of an artificial tactile system provided with energy harvesting technology, power storage and management, readout and wireless communication electronics. The research activity would also result in the development of a standard zero-power subsystem suitable for the plug-in of a wide range of sensing modules (e.g., joint angular encoders, temperature sensors, smartphone subsystems, …) typically used in a huge range of applications.



Meet the team