The world’s lowest-power energy harvesting PMICs

21st August 2015
Siobhan O'Gorman

A family of energy harvesting PMICs that enable tiny, solar-powered wireless sensors for IoT applications has been introduced by Cypress Semiconductor. The new devices are claimed to be the world’s lowest-power, single-chip energy harvesting PMICs, and can be used with solar cells as small as 1cm2

The PMIC devices are fully integrated, making them suitable for battery-less WSNs that monitor physical and environmental conditions for smart homes, commercial buildings, factories, infrastructure and agriculture. Cypress offers a complete, battery-free energy harvesting solution that pairs the S6AE101A PMIC, the first device in the new family, with the EZ-BLE PRoC module for BLE connectivity, along with supporting software, in a $49 kit.

The WSN IoT device market is expected to grow to more than 5bn units by 2020, putting a premium on battery-free implementations to reduce cost and maintenance problems. The placement of a WSN may limit its size and the amount of light available, thereby limiting the size and power output of the solar module and the startup power available for the energy harvesting PMIC. The Cypress energy harvesting PMIC devices address these challenges with startup power of 1.2uW, four times lower than the nearest competitor, and consumption current as low as 250nA, maximising the power available for the sensing, processing and communications functions of a target application. The fully-certified, small-form-factor EZ-BLE PRoC module, which is based on Cypress’s PRoC BLE Programmable Radio-on-Chip solution, works with the PMIC devices to contribute to the low power and ease-of-use of an energy harvesting system solution.

“The most compelling new WSNs that will drive IoT growth are self-powered, can be deployed anywhere for more than 10 years, and require minimal deployment and maintenance costs,” said Kiyoe Nagaya, Vice President of the Analog Business Unit, Cypress. “Using our energy harvesting PMIC and EZ-BLE PRoC Bluetooth Smart module, Cypress offers a complete solution that enables developers to create solar-powered WSNs for battery-less IoT devices.”

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