Aiming to Develop Environmentally Friendly Electronic Devices

Researchers at the UPNA (Public University of Navarre) are leading the ENEIDA project, which is trying to tackle the technological changes needed to create more energy-efficient and more environmentally-friendly electronic devices.

Wireless sensor networks comprise sensor nodes and actuators that detect parameters from the environmental factors, such as temperature, humidity, pressure, to implement actions, such as switching on/off of devices, and communicate with each other networks like the Internet over radio waves, without any need for leads.

"The networks of wireless sensors are its main application," said head researcher Antonio López-Martín, "but the results can be extrapolated to spheres like mobile telephony, WiFi systems, Bluetooth terminals and, in general, to all the cell- or battery-powered devices in which duration is a critical aspect; for example, pacemakers or implantable defibrillators, where battery replacement requires surgery".

The researchers have been working on the ENEIDA project, which they hope will develop energy-autonomous wireless microsensors for smart with a minimum amount of environmental harm. ENEIDA comes within the framework of so-called sustainable communications and sets out to mitigate the huge energy and environmental impact of current telecommunications systems with their electronic components, cells and batteries, the recycling of which is difficult to accomplish.

"To achieve this," stated López-Martin, "we are working on microelectronics systems capable of efficiently harvesting and managing the energy available in the environment (solar, thermal, mechanical, radiofrequency, etc.)to produce communications systems that don't need replaceable batteries and which are therefore energy autonomous. This enables great energy savings to be made in situations where the location of the devices can be chosen."

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