Evalan participated in the European project Energy for Smart Objects (EnSO). The project, which was recently successfully completed, focused on an indispensable part of an IoT device; energy. The aim of the project was to develop Autonomous Micro Energy Sources (AMES) for IoT devices to extend battery life with as little energy as possible. As a result of this project, Evalan created a Smart Care solution consisting of the combination of a wireless sensor network and a wearable sensor that monitors various physical parameters. The focus was on reducing the energy consumption of both the wearable sensor and the bGrid node, the sensor that forms the basis of the eponymous wireless smart building sensor network.
All Internet of Things devices need power to collect and transmit data. A major challenge when deploying wireless sensor networks is the limited time in which the sensors can do their work. Wide installation of such IoT devices requires the devices to become autonomous, meaning they no longer need batteries or a network connection to do their job. EnSO is a pilot line project, a type of project that is carried out within Europe that enables companies to go from R&D to a first version of production. This involved the development of energy micro sources that are autonomous, smart, connected and safe. During the project, research was conducted into state-of-the-art micro batteries and different ways of harvesting energy and power conditioning. Within this project, Evalan has applied the developed energy technologies in two IoT solutions to improve them and create new opportunities for healthcare. It resulted in the Smart Care solution.
Wireless and self-sufficient smart building node
One of the technologies that Evalan has managed to extend battery life and that has been made suitable for healthcare, is bGrid. This is a smart building solution that uses a network of sensors that detect everything in a building; from monitoring temperature and humidity to locating people. Evalan has made a version of the bGrid node that is wireless and self-sufficient. Powered by a Solems photovoltaic cell, the node can operate completely autonomously. This “Sustainable Wireless Sensor Node” uses interior lighting to power the battery.
Measuring physical parameters with wearable
In addition to the smart building sensor network, Evalan has developed a wearable sensor that is worn on the body or attached to a product or object. The device uses the energy technology developed during the EnSO project. With the energy technology added to the wearable, less energy is required to perform the same functions. The wearable collects data about the physical condition of the user. Due to the sensor network, this data can be transferred in real time to a portal. The wearable measures several physical parameters, including the chest position. This allows it to detect a fall or determine if the user is in bed. When the patient moves, or is moved, he can be tracked to an accuracy of 1.5 meters. Finally, the wearable measures physiological values such as temperature, hydration and heart rate.
Complete smart care solution
The Evalan Smart Care solution consists of the combination of the wireless sensor network and the wearable sensor. The solution combines smart building functionalities with specific functions of the wearable. This enables activities such as patient protection, patient localization, fall detection, and patient activity monitoring. An example of this is when an elderly person with dementia leaves the nursing ward and the wearable sends a warning signal from the location to the appropriate care providers. In this way, the safety of the patient is always guaranteed. The wearables can also be attached to healthcare objects to collect and monitor data on medicines, hospital beds or insulin pumps. In this way, healthcare professionals can find a tool faster and this saves a lot of valuable time. Time that will be badly needed, for example, when scaling up the IC capacity.
Selected by ECSEL and H2020 program
The EnSO project lasted four years and started on January 1, 2016. It was funded by the Electronic Components and Systems for European Leadership (ECSEL) in collaboration with the H2020 program of the European Union. During the project, the energy technology was successfully developed and applied in various smart products.