An international research team has engineered a novel ambient light harvesting solar cell to power and connect the internet of things (IoT). The low maintenance device is designed to provide local power and support autonomous operation of IoT components.

The dye-sensitized solar cells can convert up to 34% of visible light into electricity to power diverse IoT sensors. The cells are based on a copper-complex electrolyte, making them suitable for harvesting indoor light from fluorescent lamps and LEDs.

An array of cells was tested in an adaptive power management system for solar-powered IoT sensors in a wireless network. The light-driven devices intelligently fed from the amount of light available. Computational workloads were executed according to the level of illumination, minimizing energy losses during storage and thus using all light energy to the maximum of its availability. The cells were also demonstrated as a power source to train an artificial neural network on an IoT device and to use the neural network to infer information. By combining artificial intelligence and automated learning, the photovoltaic system reduces energy consumption and battery waste.

Researchers from Uppsala University (Sweden), Technical University of Munich (Germany), Salesforce Research (California) and Newcastle University (U.K.) contributed to this study, which is published in Chemical Science.

Source: Hannes Michaels et al.Source: Hannes Michaels et al.

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