Energy-Aware Battery-Less Bluetooth Low Energy Device Prototype Powered By Ambient Light (Demo Abstract)


Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is emerging as an Internet of Things (IoT) technology that effectively connects small devices and sensors. It can enable many smart building use cases such as automation and control, environmental condition monitoring, and indoor location services. The BLE mesh standard provides a friendship feature to support Low Power Nodes (LPNs). We demonstrate how these BLE LPNs can support communication (uplink, downlink, or bidirectional) when powered by ambient indoor light using a mini solar panel and a small capacitor for energy storage. Being batteryless, it can exhibit intermittent behaviour with periodic ON and OFF states. However, with the knowledge of the capacitor voltage, an energy-aware LPN can try to avoid the OFF state. It can delay the execution of upcoming tasks by switching to an SLEEP state (consuming minimum energy) and provide some time to recharge the capacitor. We consider an example use case of monitoring temperature and room occupancy. The mesh nodes in the network can send instructions (such as turn-on an LED or a buzzer) to the batteryless LPN that should be executed by it. We study the use-case with real experiments on the communication feasibility of an energy-aware BLE LPN in a network and characterize the capacitance behaviour by placing a 6~W light bulb at 120 cm from the solar panel.

9th International Workshop on Energy Harvesting & Energy-Neutral Sensing Systems (EnSys)