US DoE Chooses PARC to Develop
Wireless IoT Peel-And-Stick Sensors
December 26, 2016
PARC, A Xerox Company, has secured
funding with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building Technologies
Office within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
as a part of its announcement to invest $19 million to improve the
efficiency of our nation’s homes, offices, schools, hospitals,
restaurants and stores.
“Distributed sensing enables richer
knowledge of any environment, detecting air quality, temperature,
humidity, occupancy, and more,” said David Schwartz, project lead and
Manager of Energy Devices and Systems at PARC. “Sensors need to be
low-cost, easily deployed, require little or no maintenance, and be able
to store enough energy to do their job. PARC’s flexible, printed and
hybrid electronics enable the unique peel-and-stick form factor, provide
affordable, plug-and-play installation, and allow for remote radio
frequency power delivery.”
PARC has a long history in developing hybrid electronics with varying
functionality and flexible form factors. One of the challenges in
distributed sensing is power. PARC’s low-cost sensors are powered by RF
energy instead of batteries, which have limited life, or light, which
can be ineffective inside of buildings. The innovative peel-and-stick
deployment provides simple and affordable installation advantages.
Sensors can be applied throughout the facility and easily replaced or
moved when necessary, allowing for a deeper and more accurate
understanding of building environment than what is currently available.
The sensors are also auto-locating, facilitating commissioning, and
enabling additional capabilities, such as automatic wall mapping.
The IoT requires a myriad of solutions to help us sense and interpret
the world. Printing is a promising approach to mass-produce and
customize sensor systems to support the fast growing IoT. The low cost,
flexible form factor, and simple installation are ideal for a variety of
applications including building efficiency, air quality, smart cities,
industrial and residential safety, and wearables. In addition to the
cost of fabrication and materials, commissioning is a major barrier to
economical implementation. Automatic localization, simplified
calibration, and redundancy can help reduce the commissioning effort
required. The key to the success of any widespread IoT deployment is the
ability to utilize configurable, on-demand, low cost, sensor systems,
and to design the technology to best fit the application.
“Business Insider Intelligence predicts the IoT market to become a $6
trillion market by 2021. “Distributed, networked sensing and data
collection is the basis of the IoT. PARC is poised to provide a variety
of the IoT sensors given our deep and rich history in printed
electronics,” said Schwartz.
DOE Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers and Innovation Technologies
(BENEFIT) solicitation this past year is funding a total of 18 projects,
encompassing sensors and controls, heating, ventilation and air
conditioning (HVAC) and related technologies, windows, building
envelopes (the physical elements, such as doors and walls, separating a
building's interior from its exterior) and energy modeling. The RFID
projects fall within the sensors and controls category.
Last year, PARC announced its methane detection sensors, based on
printed sensor arrays fabricated on polymer substrates. PARC is
developing very low cost printed sensor arrays to quantify and locate
methane leaks, using a variety of modified carbon nanotube (CNT)
materials. The combined response of the sensors provides "fingerprints"
for methane and other gases. This approach offers a solution to
identify, quantify and locate natural gas leaks at a cost point
compatible with widespread deployment. Methane, a major component of
natural gas, is a significant greenhouse gas, with many times the
heat-trapping effect of carbon dioxide.