All Posts By

PowerCastCo

Students Compete in Airbus Contest Using Our Development Kit

By | News, Press Releases and Announcements | No Comments

University of Bologna Students Compete in Airbus Contest with Our Development Kit

Students from the University of Bologna in Italy entered the Airbus Fly Your Ideas Contest.  The competition involved more than 500 teams from all over the world and Team TakeOff has been selected for the final stage.  They have also entered the Top 8 Video Contest as Team #6.  With a revolutionary idea, that could change the future of aviation.

Team TakeOff developed a system of sensors that help with the maintenance of airplanes.  These sensors are powered by Powercast’s P2110-EVAL-01 Development Kit.  Current monitoring systems use circuit boards, which require a lot of space, weight, and power.  Team Takeoff designed sensors that will detect an issue and report the problem.  The sensors are smaller, wireless, and require less power.  Therefore, reducing the space, weight, and power that is currently used  in airplanes.

To watch Team TakeOff’s video please click here.

You can find more information on Powercast’s Development Kits by clicking here.

UHF RFID Sensing, Passive RFID Wireless Sensor Tags

By | News, Press Releases and Announcements | No Comments

Powercast’s RF Energy Harvesting technology enables high-function (high-power) RFID tags. Standard tags have limited function or require a battery for higher-power functions such as sensing, data logging, displays, biometric authentication, visual and audible indicators, etc.

Powercast’s technology uses the same RFID reader infrastructure to capture additional power and eliminate the need for batteries. Battery-less, passive tags are the only practical way to scale deployment for high-function RFID tags.

View more presentations from Powercast on SlideShare.net.

Example
Using a UHF RFID reader, Powercast’s RF harvesting circuit can be used to power a microcontroller (MCU) and additional sensors (strain, vibration, etc). The MCU can communicate to NXP’s UCODE RFID chip via the I2C interface, and the tag ID and data can be read through the RFID reader. The result: One infrastructure for communications and power, no batteries, reliable operation.

Frequently Asked Questions

By | News, Press Releases and Announcements | No Comments

Powercast develops wireless power and RF energy harvesting solutions to provide power-over-distance for low-power applications (low microwatts and low milliwatts). Devices that typically operate on batteries for months or years can benefit from Powercast’s patented, high-efficiency RF energy harvesting technology. The cost of wiring or battery replacement can be eliminated in low-power devices through wireless, remote trickle-charging, or devices can be made completely battery-free.

General Questions

What are the intended applications for Powercast technology?
There are numerous applications that can benefit from using Powercast’s technology. The amount of received power, the use case, antenna form factor, and charge rate must be considered. Devices that operate on a set of batteries for weeks, months, or years are candidates for Powercast’s technology. Powercast is currently focused on low-power applications such as, high function RFID, battery recharging in wearable devices, and LED lighting.

Where can I buy Powercast products?
Powercast technology is designed for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM’s) to embed directly into their products and systems. Products can be purchased through Future Electronics, Mouser Electronics, and Arrow Electronics. If your company is an OEM and is seeking sales support , please contact us to discuss your application in more detail.

What products does Powercast offer?
Powercast offers modules and chipsets. Our modules are the P1110 & P2110B, which are for low volume applications and provide ease of implementation. Our chipsets are the PCC110 & PCC210, which are for high volume applications. Additional information about the chipsets is available after the completion of a Reference Design Confidentiality Agreement.

Does Powercast provide custom development services?
Yes. Powercast has completed multiple custom development projects related to RF-based wireless power and RF energy harvesting. Please contact us to provide details on your project so that we may provide a quote.

Where can I get more information about the PCC110 & PCC210 chips?
Information regarding the PCC110 & PCC210 chips is available after the completion of a Reference Design Confidentiality Agreement.

Power Questions

How much power can be transmitted?
In the United States and Canada, the maximum amount of power that can be transmitted is 4 Watts EIRP. Our TX91501 transmitter broadcasts approximately 3 Watts EIRP.

How much power is received?
The received power is determined by several factors, including distance and receiving antenna performance. Available energy after conversion in the low milliwatt (mW) and microwatt (uW) range should be expected. Please see the wireless power calculator.

What is the efficiency of the power transmission?
Powercast’s technology enables unique applications for remote charging, and multiple devices can be charged simultaneously. The end-to-end efficiency of power transfer is not a relevant metric of comparison.

What is the efficiency of the RF to DC power conversion?
RF-to-DC conversion efficiency is as high as 70% in some scenarios. Please see the datasheets found on the documentation page for performance graphs.

What is the maximum distance that your transmitter will work?
The transmitter output power is limited by government regulations, so the receiving antenna is a primary factor in operating range. Antennas with higher gain provide a better range. The directional antenna provided with the evaluation boards has a gain of 6dBi and will enable a range of 40-45 feet (12-14 meters) line of sight with the P2110B component. Our P21XXCSR-EVB Chipset Reference Design Evaluation Board has newer designs that enable greater sensitivity and range.

Radio Frequency Questions

What frequencies are supported?
The P1110 and P2110B Powerharvester receivers are designed for a center frequency of 915 MHz, but have a reasonable operating range from 850-950 MHz. The P21XXCSR-EVB supports GSM-850 uplink, Europe RFID & GSM-850 downlink, ISM USA & GSM-900 uplink, GSM-1800 uplink, GSM-1900 uplink, and Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz frequency bands. Please see the datasheets found on the documentation page for performance details. The Powerharvester technology can be adapted to other frequencies and Powercast does custom development projects for frequency modification. Please contact us to discuss custom projects for frequency modification.

Can I use the P1110 or P2110B components for harvesting from WiFi?
These components are designed with a center frequency of 915 MHz and therefore, can not be used to harvest energy from Wi-Fi routers. Although these components can not be used to harvest Wi-Fi our P21XXCSR-EVB Chipset Reference Evaluation Board does support harvesting Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz.

Do you have any components for harvesting from 2.4GHz / Wi-Fi?
Currently, the P21XXCSR-EVB Chipset Reference Evaluation Board supports harvesting Wi-FI 2.4 GHz frequency. However, standard modules for harvesting 2.4 GHz are not offered at this time. Please contact us about using the PCC110 & PCC210 chips for harvesting Wi-Fi.

Antenna Questions

What type of antennas can be used?
Powerharvester receivers are designed to work with standard 50-ohm antennas. An antenna should be matched as closely as possible to the frequency being received.

Does Powercast design custom antennas?
Powercast has antenna design expertise. Please contact us to discuss customer antenna development projects.

Transmitter Questions

Can I make any adjustments to your transmitter?
There are no user controls on the existing TX91501 Powercaster transmitter. Making modifications inside of the device would be a violation of FCC and Industry Canada regulations and also void the product warranty.

Is your transmitter required for this to work?
Powercast’s transmitter products are not required to operate the Powerharvester receivers, but some source of RF energy must be provided.  Ambient energy from sources such as mobile base stations (i.e. cell sites) are typically not strong enough to operate existing Powerharvester receivers at a useful distance, but may apply in some scenarios.  Harvesting from a mobile phone is typically more viable than harvesting from a mobile base station.

Can I use your transmitter in any country?
Powercast’s TX91501 transmitters are certified for use only in the United States and Canada, other countries have different frequency requirements and power limitations. Some countries allow for demonstration or experimental use without regulatory certification.

What modulation can be used to operate the Powerharvester receivers?
The Powerharvester recievers work independent of the type of modulation use (FHSS, DSSS, etc) by a transmitter, and can receive power from one or more transmitters using any type of modulations.  The power of the signal is the primary metric for operation.

How does your transmitter send data?
The Powercast TX91501 transmitter broadcasts data as well as power. The data is currently a transmitter ID implemented using 8 bits. Future versions may include a timing broadcast for network synchronization. The data is sent using Amplitude Shift Keying (ASK) modulation and is recovered through the Powerharvester receiver in conjunction with external circuitry and a microcontroller. The data is factory-set and not user adjustable.

Will your transmitter interfere with other RF devices (Cell Phones, Wi-Fi routers, etc.)?
All devices that generate RF frequencies have the potential to interfere with other RF devices. The interference potential is dependent on numerous factors including the field strength of the unwanted signal, the frequency band of operation, and the ability of the receiver to reject the unwanted signal. The TX91501 Powercaster Transmitter is FCC approved as FCC ID: YESTX91501 and Industry Canada (IC) approved as IC: 8985A-TX91501. The 915MHz output power is approximately 0.5W (3W EIRP) and uses Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) to spread the power over more than 500kHz as required by the FCC and IC. The Powercast DSSS signal allows devices to more easily reject the Powercast signal. Powercast has done empirical testing with mobile phones, Wi-Fi devices, and 915MHz transceivers and found no degradation in device performance at practical separation distances.

How much power does your transmitter use?
The 3W version of the TX91501 transmitter draws about 1.5W of energy from a wall outlet, which is less energy than a typical night-light. It would take 40 transmitters to have the same total power as a single 60W light bulb.

Technology Questions

Is Powercast technology patented?
Yes. Powercast technology is covered by numerous patents.

Is Powercast technology safe?
Powercast technology is approved for use in the United States and Canada.  Our technology is based on radio waves that are also generated by many commonly used, devices, including mobile phones, cordless phones, wireless sensors, security systems, etc. RF energy declines as the inverse square of the distance from the transmitter, meaning it declines rapidly. A typical mobile phone user will receive far more RF energy from their own mobile phone than they will from a properly installed Powercast transmitter.

Can Powercast technology transmit power through walls or other obstructions?
Radio waves pass through many types of materials, including walls. Walls and obstructions attenuate (or absorb) radio waves, and this will reduce the amount of energy available for reception. Radio waves reflect off of metal walls which greatly reduces or prohibits power transfer.

How does Powercast technology compare to induction-based charging solutions?
Typical induction charging solutions like charging pads and electric toothbrushes require that the power source and receiving device be in very close proximity to one another to transfer power efficiently, usually within millimeters, and is essentially zero distance. These types of solutions typically require special alignment and charging cradles. Powercast’s RF-based technology provides power-over-distance to one or more devices for low-power applications and does not directly compete with induction-based charging technologies.

Powercast demonstrates wireless charging of credit card size smart cards

By | News, Press Releases and Announcements | No Comments

RF Energy Harvesting Credit Card

Powercast exhibited at the Sensors Expo 2011 and demonstrated using RF energy harvesting to wirelessly charge credit card size devices. The devices are representative of high function, rechargeable smart cards and contained rechargeable thin-film batteries – CYMBET EnerChip, Infinite Power Solutions THINERGY, and STMicroelectronics EnerFilm.

The video below shows the rechargeable smart card devices receiving charge from an RF transmitter. The transmitter was on the floor under the table.

For more wireless power videos visit Powercast’s channel on YouTube.

Powercast Transmitter Sends Power, Data for RF Energy Harvesting & Wireless Power Systems

By | News, Press Releases and Announcements | No Comments

Press Release

Powercast Transmitter Sends Power, Data for RF Energy Harvesting & Wireless Power Systems

Transmitter and receiver combo wirelessly charge and operate micro-power devices.

Pittsburgh, PA — October 19, 2010 — Powercast Corporation, a leader in RF-based wireless power and energy harvesting technology, today announced availability of its TX91501 Powercaster™ Transmitter which uses the 915-MHz ISM band to transmit common radio waves for power and data in commercial, industrial and defense applications. As the power source for Powercast’s RF energy-harvesting wireless power solution, the TX91501 broadcasts power and data over 40 feet to its companion Powerharvester® receivers. Embedded into micro-power devices such as wireless sensors, instrumentation and controls, the Powerharvester receivers convert the received RF energy into DC power for battery-free operation or to wirelessly trickle charge batteries. The receivers also output the data broadcast from the TX91501 as well as the received signal strength indication (RSSI).

Initial versions of the TX91501 transmitter will broadcast a unique ID for device authentication or location-tracking applications, while future versions will also transmit data such as timestamps for end-device synchronization and control.

Powercast’s TX91501 transmitter is approved by the FCC (Part 15) and Industry Canada. It can be used to broadcast RF energy for both power and data in numerous energy-harvesting applications such as environmental monitoring, building automation, energy management and industrial monitoring.

The RF signal uses Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) modulation for power and Amplitude Shift Keying (ASK) modulation for data. The TX91501 is available in versions with an output of 1 watt or 3 watts Effective Isotropic Radiated Power (EIRP).

The 6.75” H x 6.25” W x 1.63” D transmitter includes an integrated 8dBi directional antenna with a 60-degree beam pattern, and the unit mounts easily on either vertical or horizontal surfaces using one of two DC power jacks (bottom or back) and multiple mounting holes. The TX91501 operates immediately when powered on and requires no user configuration or programming. An internal shut-off mechanism automatically stops transmission when objects come close to the device, and an LED indicates transmission status.

Broadcasted RF energy creates a perpetual power source, unlike potentially unreliable solar, heat or vibration energy sources, to provide power-over-distance, one-to-many charging, and controllable wireless power (continuous, scheduled or on-demand). A wire- and battery-free power source enables zero-maintenance devices which deploy to inaccessible locations, and embeds within sealed devices for use in wet or harsh environments.

The 1-watt ($235) and 3-watt ($300) versions of theTX91501 Powercaster transmitter are available through Powercast’s authorized distributors.

About Powercast (www.powercastco.com)
Powercast Corporation is a leading innovator of RF energy harvesting and wireless power technology. Founded in 2003, Powercast’s proprietary core technology and related intellectual property pioneered the model for completely untethered electronic devices by transmitting and harvesting common radio waves similar to those in wireless communications. Powercast’s technologies eliminate or reduce the need for batteries, extend sensor networks into hard-to-service locations, and enable greater system efficiency in applications such as building automation and energy management.

Editorial Note: Downloadable photos are available from https://www.powercastco.com/company/media-kit/.

PR Contacts:
Harry Ostaffe
Director, Marketing and Business Development
Powercast Corporation
hostaffe@powercastco.com
+1 412-923-4774

Michelle Moody
Moody & Associates PR
michelle@moodypr.com
+1 214-363-3460

Powercast to Demonstrate RF-Powered, Battery-Free Wireless Sensor Module at Sensors Expo

By | News, Press Releases and Announcements | No Comments

Press Release

Powercast to Demonstrate RF-Powered, Battery-Free Wireless Sensor Module at Sensors Expo 2010

Wireless Sensor Module, jointly developed by Powercast and Microchip Technology, showcases RF energy harvesting and low power processing and communications.

Pittsburgh, PA — June 7, 2010 — Powercast Corporation, a technology leader in the field of RF-based wireless power and energy harvesting, will participate as an exhibitor at the Sensors Expo & Conference on June 7-9, 2010 . At the event, Powercast will be demonstrating a battery-free wireless sensor module powered by RF energy and designed for extremely low power consumption. The sensor module provides temperature, light level, and humidity data to an access point, along with the received signal strength (RSSI) and the ID number of the Powercaster™ transmitter from which it is receiving power.

Powercast recently released the P1110 and P2110 Powerharvester™ Receivers, which are capable of converting radio waves in the range of 850-950 MHz into DC power. The demonstration sensor module uses the P2110 Powerharvester receiver to store the received energy into a capacitor, and then performs a voltage boost to supply the module components with a regulated voltage. Both the P1110 and P2110 enable a microcontroller to determine the signal strength of the received power, as well as to recover low-rate data encoded in the power broadcasted from the power transmitter.

Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP), a leading supplier of low power MCUs, provided software and hardware development support for both the sensor module and the access point. The devices use PIC® microcontrollers featuring XLP eXtreme Low Power technology, and the MRF24J40MA agency-certified IEEE 802.15.4™ radio module, resulting in high-performance, low power processing and communications. Microchip’s MiWi™ P2P protocol provides the reliable, short-duration messaging required for the optimal performance of the harvesting system.

“We see great potential in the use of energy harvesting to power a growing network of low-power wireless devices,” said Jason Tollefson, a product marketing manager at Microchip. “The sensor module developed with Powercast, using Microchip’s XLP technology, is a unique and powerful demonstration of using radio waves as an on-demand source of energy for a battery-free wireless sensor.”

Harry Ostaffe, Director of Marketing and Business Development for Powercast, will also be delivering two presentations during the event. During the pre-conference symposium on June 7, 2010, he will speak on “Design Techniques for RF Energy Harvesting Devices.” During the main conference on June 8, 2010, he will also present “Power Out of Thin Air: Ambient RF Energy Harvesting for Wireless Sensors.”

Powercast’s exhibit and wireless sensor demonstration will be located at Booth 1022 in the exhibition hall.

About Powercast (www.powercastco.com)
Powercast Corporation is a leading innovator of RF energy harvesting and wireless power technology. Founded in 2003, Powercast’s proprietary core technology and related intellectual property pioneered the model for completely untethered electronic devices by transmitting and harvesting common radio waves similar to those in wireless communications. Powercast’s technologies eliminate or reduce the need for batteries, extend sensor networks into hard-to-service locations, and enable greater system efficiency in applications such as building automation and energy management.

About Microchip (www.microchip.com)
Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP) provides low-risk product development, lower total system cost and faster time to market for thousands of eXtreme Low Power applications. From low power Analog, RF and Memory devices, to more than 75 PIC® Microcontrollers featuring XLP Technology and peripherals like LCD and USB, as well as over 600 more that offer integration such as Ethernet, Graphics and Capacitive Touch Sensing, our devices along with our free software and tools, provide a custom fit in your energy harvesting design.

Note: The Microchip name and logo, and PIC are registered trademarks of Microchip Technology Inc. in the USA and other countries. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective companies.

Contact:

Powercast
Harry Ostaffe
Director, Marketing & Business Development
+1 412-923-4774
hostaffe@powercastco.com

Future Electronics and Powercast Sign Global Distribution Agreement

By | News, Press Releases and Announcements, Uncategorized | No Comments

Press Release

Future Electronics and Powercast Sign Global Distribution Agreement

Montreal, Canada and Pittsburgh, PA — Apr 13, 2010 — Powercast Corporation, a pioneer in the field of RF energy harvesting and wireless power, and Future Electronics announced today that they have entered into a worldwide franchise distribution agreement. Under the terms of the agreement Future Electronics will distribute Powercast’s full line of Powerharvester™ receivers and Powercaster™ transmitters.

“We are excited by the addition of Powercast to the Future line card,” said Frantz Saintellemy, Corporate Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Future Electronics. “Powercast is the first supplier in our energy harvesting portfolio, and they are working with several of our existing major suppliers on low-power applications. We see energy harvesting as a high growth sector in the near future and envision many potential applications enabled by Powercast’s technology that are in alignment with our Future Energy Solutions group”.

“Future Electronics is a world-class, global distributor with broad capabilities in field sales, engineering and system design support for electronic components,” said Harry Ostaffe, Director of Marketing and Business Development, Powercast. “We are looking forward to working with Future Electronics in enabling customers to create devices that can be powered wirelessly from radio waves with our unique and patented technology”.

Future Electronics’ initial stock will include Powercast’s new P1110 and P2110 Powerharvester receivers, which are available immediately.

About Powercast (www.powercastco.com)
Powercast Corporation is a leading innovator of RF energy harvesting and wireless power technology. Founded in 2003, Powercast’s proprietary core technology and related intellectual property pioneered the model for completely untethered electronic devices by transmitting and harvesting common radio waves similar to those in wireless communications. Powercast’s technologies eliminate or reduce the need for batteries, extend sensor networks into hard-to-service locations and enable greater system efficiency in applications such as building automation and energy management.

About Future Electronics (www.futureelectronics.com)
Headquartered in Montreal and operating in 42 countries around the world, Future Electronics has earned an impressive reputation for the strength of its commercial and technical competencies through all stages of the design-production cycle, and for developing efficient, comprehensive global supply chain solutions. Future Electronics is globally integrated, with one worldwide IT infrastructure providing real time inventory availability and access, while enabling full integration of operations, sales and marketing worldwide. Offering the highest level of service, the most advanced engineering/design capabilities and technical solutions, and the largest available-to-sell inventory in the world, the company’s mission is always to Delight the Customer.

Information:

FUTURE ELECTRONICS
Martin H. Gordon
Director, Corporate Communications
514-694-7710 x 2236
Martin.gordon@future.ca

Powercast
Harry Ostaffe
Director, Marketing & Business Development
+1 412-923-4774
hostaffe@powercastco.com

Powercast Releases New RF Powerharvester Receivers

By | News, Press Releases and Announcements, Uncategorized | No Comments

Press Release

Powercast Releases New RF Powerharvester Receivers
Power management capabilities added to interface energy harvesting with microcontrollers

Pittsburgh, PA – March 31, 2010 – Powercast Corporation, a pioneer in the field of RF energy harvesting and wireless power, announced today that they released new versions of Powerharvester receivers in the P1000 and P2000 series.

The P1110 Powerharvester receiver is designed for battery charging and supports user-configurable output voltages up to 4.2 volts.

The P2110 Powerharvester receiver is designed for battery-free devices and supports user-configurable, regulated output voltages up to 5.25 volts.

Both components have capabilities and I/O to provide Received Signal Strength Indication (RSSI) as well as data which is included in a power broadcast. The P2110 also has I/O for interfacing to microcontrollers for more intelligent system control.

“Powercast is excited to be releasing these enhanced components for RF energy harvesting. The market for micro-power energy harvesting is growing and Powercast is uniquely positioned as a supplier of remote, wireless power technology for devices such as wireless sensors,” said Harry Ostaffe, Director of Marketing and Business Development, Powercast. “We look forward to working with customers to enable their micro-power devices to have embedded, wireless power while minimizing or eliminating the cost and maintenance effort typically associated with replacing batteries.”

The P1110 and P2110 components will be available in single and volume quantities through a global distributor soon to be announced.

About Powercast: (www.powercastco.com)
Powercast Corporation is a leading innovator of RF energy harvesting and wireless power technology. Founded in 2003, Powercast’s proprietary core technology and related intellectual property pioneered the model for completely untethered electronic devices by transmitting and harvesting common radio waves similar to those in wireless communications. Powercast’s technologies eliminate or reduce the need for batteries, extend sensor networks into hard-to-service locations, and enable greater system efficiency in applications such as building automation and energy management.