Plant-powered Phenocam (PPP)

Themes: Analog and power integrated circuit design (APIC)

In this project, a plant-powered image sensor will be developed for environmental monitoring

Collecting energy from the environment to power IoT devices has been a hot topic for decades and continues to develop. In this project, we are working with Plant-e on a plant-powered energy harvester, which can provide energy from the plants day and night. Very different from solid-state energy harvesters such as solar cells, a plant-based energy harvester is a “living” energy harvester that responds to electrical conditions slowly, and the traditional maximum power point track (MPPT) techniques cannot be applied. The goal of this project is to develop a novel MPPT technique to quickly and accurately find and track the MPP condition of the plant energy harvester. A DC-DC converter will also be designed to demonstrate the system.

Image sensors have been used widely in our daily life. In this project, we will develop a low-power image sensor utilizing plant power. Two key aspects are critical for this application: low power and local data processing. While the first requirement is very straightforward, the second requirement can be easily more demanding since the image data must be sent out wirelessly in most IoT systems over long distances. Filtering out the useful data locally in a smart way, such that the IoT node doesn’t need to spend a lot of power to transmit the data can save significant power. Eventually, the imaging system will be integrated with an energy harvester developed in a parallel project and a Lora module developed by our industrial partner for remote environmental monitoring.

Project data

Starting date: November -0001
Closing date: November -0001
Partners: Plant-e, IRNAS
Contact: Qinwen Fan