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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Picowatt switch slashes standby power

Researchers at the University of Bristol have developed an ultra-low power switch that operates from a few picowatts, allowing sensors in the Internet of Things (IoT) to save power and cut standby power to zero.

The voltage detector chip uses five picojoules of energy and requires only around half a volt to operate, which can be delivered directly from a sensor such as a photodetector. This would cut standby power to zero.

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The research group are providing samples of their chip to companies to use, and the team have demonstrated a TV with no continuous draw of power during standby by using a voltage detector that is powered up at a distance, directly from the infrared signal of a standard TV controller.

“The ultra-low power UB20M voltage detector provides sensing that is continuous and free," said Dr Stark, Reader in Electrical & Electronic Engineering in the Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering. "This is because it is able to respond to minute quantities of power from unpowered sensors. No battery or other power is needed for the device to stay alive and listening, and battery maintenance is therefore reduced or not needed.  We are now actively seeking commercial partners to use the voltage detector chip in their product, and would welcome companies to get in touch."

From: Ultra-low power switch slashes standby power | EETE Power Management:

By Nick Flaherty

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