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Industrial sensors that run around the clock

Everactive provides an industrial “internet of things” platform built on its battery-free sensors.

Sensors play a vital role in future industrial “internet of things” (IoT) devices. But, sensors have their drawbacks: limited energy supply and a finite lifetime of their batteries.

To address these issues, the startup Everactive has come up with sensors that run around the clock. These sensors have benefits such as require less maintenance and 20 years of lifetime.

The sensors harvest energy from sources like indoor light and vibrations to generate data. Instead of redesigning the batteries, the company has eliminated them.

By consistently sending data to the Everactive’s cloud-based dashboard, the sensors give users real-time insights, analysis, and alerts to leverage the full power of industrial IoT devices.

Small vibrations can power the sensors, lights inside a factory as dim as 100 lux, and heat differentials below 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The devices can sense temperature, acceleration, vibration, pressure, and more.

a sensor is pictured monitoring a pump
The key to Everactive’s sensors are its ultra-low power integrated circuits, which harvest energy from sources like indoor light and vibrations to generate data. Here a sensor is pictured monitoring a pump. Image courtesy of Everactive

The company says its sensors cost significantly less to operate than traditional sensors and avoid the maintenance headache that comes with deploying thousands of battery-powered devices.

For instance, Everactive considered the cost of deploying 10,000 traditional sensors. Assuming a three-year battery life, the customer would need to replace an average of 3,333 batteries each year, which comes out to more than nine a day.

With thousands of Everactive’s steam trap sensors already deployed, Wentzloff believes its sensors for motors and other rotating machinery will make an even more significant impact on the IoT market.

By avoiding the costs and restrictions associated with other sensors, the company believes it’s well-positioned to play a role in the IoT-powered transition to the future factory.

Everactive Co-Chief Technology Officer David Wentzloff SM ’02, Ph.D. ’07, said“This is a maintenance-free technology, with no batteries, powered by harvested energy, and always connected to the cloud. There are so many things you can do with that, it’s hard to wrap your head around.”

With thousands of Everactive’s steam trap sensors already deployed, Wentzloff believes its sensors for motors and other rotating machinery will make an even more significant impact on the IoT market.

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