Academic Commons

Theses Doctoral

Systems for pervasive electronics and interfaces

Sarik, John

Energy Harvesting Active Networked Tags (EnHANTs) are a new type of wireless device in the domain between RFIDs and sensor networks. Future EnHANTs will be small, flexible, and self-powered devices that can be attached to everyday objects that are traditionally not networked to enable "Internet of Things" applications. This work describes the design and development of the EnHANT prototypes and testbed. The current prototypes use thin-film photovoltaics optimized for indoor light harvesting, form multihop networks using ultra-low-power Ultra-Wideband Impulse Radio (UWB-IR) transceivers, and implement energy harvesting adaptive networking protocols. The current testbed enables the evaluation of different algorithms by exposing individual prototypes to repeatable light conditions based on real-world irradiance data. New approaches to characterizing the energy available to energy harvesting devices were explored. A mobile data-logger was used to record the intensity of ambient light, determine the light source, and record the acceleration from motion during different real world activities. These traces were used to model the behavior of photovoltaic and inertial energy harvesters in real world deployments and can be replayed in the EnHANTs testbed. In addition, new techniques to evaluate the efficiency of different photovoltaic technologies under indoor illumination were developed. A proof-of-concept system was built to characterize photovoltaics under a standardized set of conditions in which the radiant intensity and spectral composition of the light source were systematically varied. Techniques to structure student research projects within the EnHANTs project were developed. Project-based learning approaches were implemented to engage students using real-world system development constraints. A survey of the students showed that this approach is an effective method for developing technical, professional, and soft skills. Open source hardware was also applied to EnHANTs project and extended into other domains. A laboratory-based class in flat panel display technology was developed. The course introduces fundamental concepts of display systems and reinforces these concepts through the fabrication of three display devices. A lab kit platform was developed to enable remote students to use low-cost, course specific hardware to complete the lab exercises remotely. This platform was also applied to external projects targeted at non-university students. A workshop was developed to teach artists, designers, and hobbyists how to design and build custom user interfaces using thin-film electronics and rapid prototyping tools. Surveys of the students and workshop participants showed that this platform is an effective teaching tool and can be easily adapted and expanded.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Electrical Engineering
Thesis Advisors
Kymissis, Ioannis
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
November 7, 2013