PhD student Tomás Clancy was at Tyndall Technology Days 2016 in October, showcasing electrochemical energy storage solutions and explaining the benefits such technology will have on society in future.

Internet of things (IoT) is a catch-all term covering many broad fields. In essence, the industry is the greater connectivity of devices and, for that, sensors are key.

What’s interesting about the use of sensors in non-traditional areas – the basis behind the IoT revolution we’re all witnessing – is the surprising effects it could have on the human race.

For example, sensors on a carbon monoxide monitor can reveal levels of dangerous gases, however, when that technology is upped, we can control and react. As well as monitoring, they can also make environmental changes to counter the health implications brought on by a lack of fresh air – but only as needed, saving energy and money.

The problem is that sensors of this variety are currently powered by non-rechargeable batteries, and their high-power demands means they have expired within a few months.

“We’re actually developing a battery technology that is optimised to be used with an energy harvester,” said Clancy of Tyndall’s solution.

“The energy harvester actually charges the battery on a daily basis, so that means instead of sourcing a battery that lasts, say, five years, a much smaller battery capacity can be used.”

Words by Gordon Hunt