A batteryless, indoor light-powered Bluetooth® LE tag developed by U.K.-based Lightricity provides a sustainable IoT asset tracking solution with a carbon footprint reduction of over 50 percent compared to battery-powered alternatives, according to the company.
The plug-and-play ‘4EverTrack micro’ solution is compatible with a wide range of real-time location systems (RTLS) including all Bluetooth LE-based indoor navigation and wayfinding solutions used in, for example, hospitals, retail centers, airports, warehouses, and exhibition venues. The tag also incorporates a temperature sensor for applications requiring environmental monitoring.
The integrated Nordic Semiconductor nRF52805 SoC’s powerful 64 MHz 32-bit Arm® Cortex®-M4 processor provides the core processing capability for the 4EverTrack micro to oversee the analysis of location and sensor data. The nRF52805 SoC-enabled Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity is used to relay this data to any Bluetooth gateway or a user’s smartphone. 4EverTrack micro is designed to be compatible and configured to interact with any iOS/Android smartphone app or web platform. To assist development and evaluation, Lightricity can provide an Android app and web dashboards that display all 4EverTrack micro data and payload information in real time.
The 4EverTrack micro tracker comes in an ultra compact (10 by 10 by 2 mm) PCB form factor and is powered by photovoltaic (PV) energy harvesting through Lightricity’s proprietary indoor PV cell (or ‘indoor solar panel’). The tag is designed to operate from a light level as low as 50 lux to bright ambient light conditions of over 1000 lux. By integrating PV energy harvesting technology into their products and applications, solution providers and end users can eliminate the maintenance time and costs associated with battery recharge or replacement.
“Battery-powered IoT devices require frequent maintenance over their lifetime,” explains Mathieu Bellanger, Technical Director, Lightricity. “Lightricity PV can last for decades and provides a near infinite energy source for wireless trackers and sensors. 4EverTrack micro is powered solely from small amounts of indoor light, therefore it operates perpetually – updating several times per second at high indoor illumination.”
The 4EverTrack micro can operate without a battery thanks in part to the low power characteristics of the Nordic nRF52805 SoC itself. “Power consumption was a very important consideration in chip selection,” says Matthias Kauer, Managing Director, Lightricity. “In addition, extensive and detailed technical documentation, rapid support from Nordic application engineers, and the breadth of Nordic’s developer community were also instrumental in our choice of a Nordic solution for 4EverTrack micro.”