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Directory:Vibration Energy Harvesters by MicroGen Systems, Inc.
Compiled by Sterling D. Allan
Pure Energy Systems News
June 24, 2014
In this day of an out of control Big Brother snooping aparatus prying into our privacy in the name of "security" (Benjamin Franklin said: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.") I'm not excited about the main proposed application of this particular technology.
Quoting from MicroGen's June 18 press release:
- IoT might sound like the latest new texting acronym. What it actually stands for is more serious: a technology revolution waiting in the wings called the "Internet of Things."
- In a few short years, trillions of wireless sensors — embedded in everything from buildings to vehicles to household appliances to the bloodstream, up from 10 billion shipped annually today — will convey data of every type, over the internet, to interested parties of every kind.
- Technology conceived at the University of Vermont could bring the sensor-driven IoT world closer to reality by helping overcome its Achilles' heel: how all those sensors will be powered, given the impracticality and expense of installing and changing batteries.
- UVM alumnus Robert Andosca (M.S. in Materials Science/Electrical Engineering, Ph.D. in Materials Science/Physics) has made the idea of battery-powered sensors all but obsolete with a tiny vibration energy scavenging device, half the size of a sugar cube, that he developed with his Ph.D. advisor, UVM physics professor Junru Wu, Ph.D. The "MEMS" device — for microelectromechanical systems — converts mechanical energy into electricity using a special "piezoelectric" material that generates a charge at the slightest jostle.
- The company Andosca and Wu co-founded in 2007, MicroGen Systems, is on the verge of taking its first micropower source products to market.
- Kristofer Pister, professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California at Berkeley and a pioneer of wireless sensor networks, says MicroGen is poised at a potentially watershed moment.
- "The market for wireless sensors is finally taking off, and their power requirements have dropped to the point where a good vibrational energy scavenger is plenty," Pister says. "And it looks like MicroGen has built a very good vibrational energy scavenger. It's an exciting time for the company."
- Under the guidance of Wu, Andosca developed a novel theoretical model and optimum design parameters for the microscale harvester that allowed him to crank up its power to record levels.
- Public recognition of the product's promise began in 2011, when Andosca powered a Texas Instruments wireless sensor with one of his prototype devices at a demo at the Sensors Expo in Chicago. The MIT Technology Review published a glowing review.
- A year later, Andosca's Ph.D. dissertation — a distillation of his theoretical and experimental work on the energy harvester — was published in the journal Sensors and Actuators and became the seventh most downloaded paper of 2012 on the leading website Science Direct. And in 2013, the energy harvester won top honors at the MEMS Showcase at the MEMS Executive Congress in Napa, Calif.
- The success attracted funding. A Belgium-based holding company called Xtrion invested $3.9 million in the company. Nearly as important, it offered the capabilities of two majority-owned subsidiaries. The first, X-FAB, operates a series of state-of-the-art semiconductor- MEMS foundries in Europe, Malaysia and the U.S. MicroGen's products are now being manufactured at an X-FAB facility in Germany.
- The second company, Melexis, produces integrated circuit sensor components for the automotive market. It has licensed MicroGen's technology to power its sensors in the tire-pressure monitoring systems mandated in passenger cars in the U.S. and the European Union.
- Andosca has backstopped his R&D prowess with a business plan savvy enough to have won New York State's Creative Core Emerging Business Competition in 2012, earning MicroGen $200,000. The plan also helped MicroGen win three contracts from the New York Energy Research Development Authority totaling $3 million.
- The plan calls for a strategically sequenced entry into the Internet of Things market, beginning with the industrial market in 2014, progressing to the tire-pressure monitoring systems market for high-use vehicles in 2016, moving to the passenger car market in the latter part of the decade and later targeting the wider IoT world.
- Andosca has eager customers lined up in each of the first two phases — with the first X-FAB manufactured products coming to market in October 2014 — and anticipates annual sales of $100 million by 2019.
- "MicroGen is at the right place at the right time at the tip of the IoT iceberg," he says. Not a bad place to be — for trillions of reasons.
Here's an email I received from them on June 23:
- MicroGen's BOLT™ industrial and building product line (demo kits, piezo-MEMS vibration energy harvesters, Power Cells and Energy Cells and evaluation tools; see link:
- will be made available June 2014 to only early-adopter select customers as engineering samples. A press release will be published.
- MicroGen plans to announce BOLT product availability to the general market place early 2015. Again, his will be done in the form of a press release.
- Thank you for contacting MicroGen Systems, Inc. Please stay tuned for more information.
Thanks to Darren Walker, who brought this to our attention.
I know of a technology that we've not yet been given the green light to report on that probably far surpasses those being developed by MicroGen Systems, not in stage of development but in capability to efficiently harvest vibrational energy from a wide range of frequencies -- simultaneously.
- https://www.youtube.com/user/MicroGenSystemsInc/ - MicroGen Systems, Inc.'s channel
- https://www.youtube.com/user/MicroGenSystems1/ - another channel
MicroGen BOLT™ Micro Power Generator
- MicroGen Systems, Inc. is the global leader in designing and manufacturing MEMS micro-power and micro-sensor products for wireless sensor and mobile electronics applications. BOLT™ energy harvester products provide unprecedented efficiency in micro-power generation from usually wasted ambient vibrational energy. Our energy-harvesting solutions to create miniature, autonomous, perpetual power supply solutions for wireless sensor and sensor fusion applications powered from ultra-low level frequency, from 1 Hz to hundreds of Hz of vibration. (YouTube; October 25, 2012)
MicroGen BOLT™ ZERO energy harvester demonstration
- MicroGen has developed a piezo-MEMS energy harvester that converts vibration into electricity (see how this conversion process works http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QAYSf...). MicroGen's BOLT ZERO ("Zero Power" from batteries) unit shown in the video contains a single non-vacuum packaged piezo-MEMS device, plus electronics converting AC to DC electricity, and an LED. The BOLT ZERO is placed on a vibration source at ~120 Hz and 0.3 g vibration. Within seconds the LED begins to flash. Each flash represents a RF radio transmission from a wireless sensor node, such as the Texas Instruments eZ430 mote (shown at the end of the video) or the Linear Technology (Dust Networks) LTC5800-IPM WirelessHART mote-on-a-chip mote.
MicroGen will perform this BOLT ZERO demonstration in the X-FAB Silicon Foundries' booth at the Smart Systems Integration conference (booth 23) in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, March 13-14, 2013. http://www.xfab.com/en/about-x-fab/ev... (YouTube; March 7, 2013)
About BOLT™ and VIBE™
BOLT™ (single-frequency) and VIBE™ (Vibration Induced Broadband Excitation) Micro-Power Generators (MPGs) or power scavenger/energy harvester products provide unprecedented efficiency in micro-power generation from usually wasted ambient vibrational energy. Anything that is desired to be monitored by a wireless sensor for its condition or position can be powered by MicroGen’s MPG products provided there is a vibration source. Our energy-harvesting solutions to create miniature, autonomous, perpetual power supply solutions for wireless sensor and sensor fusion applications. Integrated self-powered sensor fusion technology for mobile communication devices is under development. These applications will be powered from ultra-low level frequency, < 1 Hz to hundreds of Hz of vibration. 
MicroGen Systems, Inc. (MicroGen) – a U.S. Cleantech company – is the global leader in designing and manufacturing nanotechnology/MicroElectroMechanical Systems (NEMS/MEMS) micro-power and micro-sensor products for wireless sensor and mobile electronics applications. Founded in 2007, MicroGen is privately held with corporate headquarters and development facilities in the Ithaca and Rochester, NY areas, and volume manufacturing in Itzehoe, Germany. MicroGen developed its baseline piezoelectric vibrational energy harvester (PZEH) technology at Cornell University within the Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility. Now, MicroGen’s PZEH and piezoelectric platform technology for piezoelectric sensor integration is being transferred to X-FAB located in Germany, Malaysia and the USA. X-FAB is world renowned for its microelectronics and MEMS technology foundry production capabilities. 
In the News
- (The hyperlink is missing because this points to the present page)
Featured: Vibrations > Piezoelectric >
Vibration Energy Harvesters by MicroGen Systems, Inc. - University of Virginia alumnus Robert Andosca and his Ph.D. Advisor, Professor Junru Wu, have developed a tiny vibration energy scavenging device, half the size of a sugar cube. The "MEMS" device — for microelectromechanical systems — converts mechanical energy into electricity using a special "piezoelectric" material that generates a charge at the slightest jostle. (PESWiki; June 24, 2014)
- Startup Can Power Trillions of Sensors in Everyday Objects with vibration energy scavenging instead of batteries - A tiny vibration energy scavenging device half the size of a sugar cube could replace the need for batteries. (NextBigFuture; June 21, 2014)
- UVM Startup Can Power Trillions of Sensors in Everyday Objects - In a few short years, trillions of wireless sensors — embedded in everything from buildings to vehicles to household appliances to the bloodstream, up from 10 billion shipped annually today — will convey data of every type, over the internet, to interested parties of every kind. (UVM.edu; June 18, 2014)
- Slideshow: Twelve shakers and movers in MEMS - Robert Andosca, co-founder, president and CEO of MicroGen Systems Inc. (Rochester, New York), has been a pioneer of the applications of vibrational MEMS and piezoelectric effect to energy harvesting. (Analog-EETimes; March 03, 2014)
- Piezo-MEMS vibration energy harvesters enable SmartMesh IP wireless sensor network - MicroGen Systems, Inc’s vibration energy harvesting BOLT Power Cells have enabled a live wireless sensor network (WSN) using Linear Technology’s Dust Networks LTC5800-IPM SmartMesh IP mote-on-chip at the Sensors Expo and Conference exhibition in Rosemont, Illinois, USA. (Analog-EETimes; June 26, 2013)
MicroGen Systems, Inc.
150 Lucius Gordon Drive, Suite 117
Rochester, NY 14586
phone: +1 (585) 214-2426 main