In an effort to bring internet of things (IoT) technologies to the masses, an EU Horizon 2020 project called EnABLES has just launched.

Coordinated by the Tyndall National Institute based in University College Cork (UCC), the project offers free access to equipment, tools and expertise for everything to do with powering IoT.

One of the biggest challenges for low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs) is ensuring a steady stream of data from a multitude of different sensors. This requires companies developing LPWANs to find ways of powering sensors for an almost limitless amount of time.

The vision of EnABLES is to eliminate the need for battery replacement by developing energy harvesting solutions or by finding ways to reduce the power consumption of devices.

Once signed up, activities can be undertaken in a number of ways, including characterising material or devices, and carrying out physical or simulated feasibility studies to see if the battery life of IoT devices can be prolonged.

EnABLES’ transnational access sub-programme gives academic and industry developers of IoT devices access to energy harvesting, energy storage, micropower management and system integration techniques.

€2bn worth of tools available
In addition to the main programme providers, a virtual access platform will offer databases of vibrational energy sources from real-life applications through the University of Perugia and the University of Southampton.

The organisers of the EnABLES project said that it brings together a consortium of 130 IoT researchers in the areas of energy harvesting and storage, giving access to more than €2bn worth of research infrastructure.

Tyndall has been working closely with energy harvesting technology, having last May hosted a three-day workshop on the concept, with a particular focus on IoT.

Speaking at the time, Mike Hayes, head of ‘ICT 4 Energy Efficiency’ at Tyndall and president of the Power Sources Manufacturers Association, said: “Through cooperation like this, and through developing collaborative partnerships between Irish and international companies and researchers, we can deliver an energy harvesting roadmap to guide and accelerate development globally.”

Colm Gorey

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