RFicient® combines low power consumption with quick response times.
The fact that devices are becoming more and more connected is expected to significantly increase carbon emissions. Fraunhofer IIS, with its focus on micro- and nanoelectronics, must therefore expedite the development of solutions that are as energy-efficient and resource-conserving as possible. The RFicient® chip, which recently won the Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize, is a good example.
It adds a wake-up receiver to conventional sensor nodes and puts all connected components into sleep mode. Extremely short switch-on times reduce power consumption by 99 percent, while fast signal processing and quick transitions between active and inactive phases ensure short latency times, guaranteeing a response in real time. This combination of quick response times and high energy efficiency is one of a kind. Thanks to this low power consumption, a simple button cell can last up to ten years. Not only is this advantageous in terms of sustainability, but it also makes the technology more economically viable: the receivers can now be made smaller and more cheaply and require less maintenance, which reduces costs.
The chip has many possible applications: one scenario that shows off the receiver to its best advantage is one dealing with two objects that approach and move away from each other, for instance when tracking and locating objects. Tracking can be useful for keeping tabs on objects and transport systems in production and logistics, for instance, but it can also help locate objects in everyday life. The chip’s many possible applications are indicative of the number of potential IoT devices and systems that may utilize it in the future. The RFicient® chip captures the spirit of the times in two ways: it promotes sustainability while opening up new possibilities for the Internet of Things.
Here is what the developers and the division director have to say about the RFicient® chip: