Over the years it has become more and more important to reduce energy consumption, especially in the realm of IoT edge devices, which often must operate without a battery change for several years. At Altran we want to design and implement solutions that do not require batteries, but harvest energy from their surroundings. They use this energy to operate a radio for receiving and transmitting information, as well as operate sensors and actuators. This requires careful analysis of contributors to energy consumption in order to minimize the energy requirements. One aspect of this is the collaboration and coordination of hundreds of such nodes on the use of a shared medium, namely the radio frequency on which they operate. A prototype of a demonstrator to create and show understanding of the various technologies involved is under development. The presentation gives an overview of the many challenges and (proposed) solutions for the complete development of such a system and presents the current status of the prototype, capable of running forever on 2 small solar cells and interacting over Bluetooth Low Energy with a server node.
Of interest to this community is the development of a protocol to create and maintain a robust communication schedule, scalable to hundreds or thousands of nodes, such that the amount of energy to exchange information is minimized while preventing deadlock and starvation. Furthermore the network must be self-organizing, i.e. must automatically spread the edge-node communications such that these do not keep colliding when the network is in the construction phase. Finally there must be a guarantee that all nodes can exchange information with a server within a predefined time.
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