Despite the advances made to support wireless sensor communications in biohazardous or harsh conditions, the transmitter electronics required for each sensor device can act as an application limiting factor in a number of ways, including cost, size, power consumption and, thus, operational lifetime. The transmitter, antenna, and other components necessary for wireless communication may collectively constitute the most expensive and sizeable module of a device, having a microfabricated sensor. A potentially greater limitation on sensor deployment, however, may involve the amount of power dissipated by the transmitter, which alone may render certain sensing applications infeasible. As a result, applications requiring considerable power to support, for instance, long sensor operational lifetimes or frequent data transmissions will need to accommodate large batteries or other cumbersome power sources to support the wireless communications. Unfortunately, in many cases, large batteries are incompatible with other aspects of the sensing device or unsuitable for the sensing application.
Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed systems and devices capable of wireless communications based on radiofrequency (RF) transmissions from discharges. A transmitting device includes a discharge generator with electrodes spaced to support generation of the discharge, and a circuit coupled to spaced electrodes to control a supply for the discharge generator. Property of the discharge to modulate the RF transmission may be modulated by controlling the supply for the discharge generator, such that the resulting RF transmission is indicative of the device state or other information to be communicated.
Applications and Advantages
- Wireless communications based on RF transmissions from microdischarge-based devices
- Simplifies and enables miniaturization of-nl-sensor devices