Technology


TECHNOLOGY

Electromagnetic induction is the process of creating an electrical current by moving an electric conductor through a static magnetic field. WePower has engineered and patented innovative technology to perform this process using permanent magnets for field shaping and concentration in order to harvest energy at a significantly higher level than previous EHG solutions. A single motion, such as a push of a button or a flip of a switch, creates an electromagnetic current by moving a magnet through a copper coil. WePower has designed a new energy harvesting circuit that pulls this energy from WePower EHGs and processes and stores the energy in the circuit’s capacitors. This energy is then used by sensors and transmitters to send long-range, high-reliability transmissions without the need for batteries or wired power.

WePower has designed their proprietary Gemns EHGs to harvest energy more efficiently and produce an energy output measuring in the millijoule range, which at least 40 times more than other kinetic energy harvesting technologies producing energy outputs in the microjoule range. Our higher energy output can enable greater RF range and reliability, larger packet sizes, longer message length, increased I/O capability, increased microcontroller functionality, and the possibility for bidirectional operation with computation at the edge.

Gemns EHGs have been tested for up to 1 million actuation cycles of durability and can easily be adapted in design to suit application-specific requirements for packaging integration and energy requirements. Gemns EHGs are compact, efficient, and can be sealed for water resistance and dust-tight rating.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is Energy Harvesting?

The law of conservation of energy holds that energy cannot be created nor destroyed, only converted from one form into another. Energy harvesting is the term for the capture and conversion of energy in external forms like solar, heat, wind, kinetic motion, and water into electrical energy for use. This process is commonly performed by solar panels, wind turbines, and hydroelectric dams, but it happens at much smaller scales, too.

Why hasn’t energy harvesting advanced?

Energy harvesting is still a developing market, but innovations in electromagnetism, microelectronics, power conversion circuitry, and nano- and pico-power technology are accelerating energy harvesting generator (EHG) methods that are at least 40 times more productive than ever before. This increased power level finally presents a viable alternative to battery power to advance the RF technology needs of the IoT industry.

What kind of energy harvesting does WePower do?

Instead of sun, wind, or water, our energy harvesting process involves electromagnetic induction wherein a kinetic force, like the push of a button or the roll of a wave, moves a small magnet through a metal coil. In adherence to Faraday’s Law, this action creates an electromagnetic charge, which is enough to power a data transmission. The more efficient the energy capture and conversion, the larger the charge. The larger the charge, the greater the range, reliability, and functionality of the data transmission.

What are the benefits of this kind of energy harvesting?

On-board electromagnetic energy harvesting allows simple wireless data transmission devices to operate reliably without the need for battery replacement. An example of where this technology has significant practical and financial value is for wireless sensors deployed in vast matrixes and hard-to-access locations. For connected sensors to do their job, they need to be able to reliably transmit real-time data. On-board electromagnetic energy harvesting allows this imperative to be automated and trusted permanently.

How can energy harvesting be useful to the IoT?

The next decade will see a sprawling IoT infrastructure in constant need of information in order to support itself. Much of this information is gathered and transmitted by automated wireless connected sensors. A key challenge facing the IoT has been finding an appropriate means of powering these countless connected sensors and associated devices.

Batteries have historically been the default power option, but they have a limited lifespan, require effort- and resource-intensive replacement at scale, and end up in landfills by the millions each day. Batteries also introduce form factor and weight constraints to the devices they power.

Our patented technology and products tackle these challenges and introduce scalable energy harvesting to IoT sensors and devices, thereby eliminating the need for the cost, weight, support, and disposal of the billions of cell batteries that are produced and discarded each year.

How can energy harvesting be useful to the world?

Each year, Americans throw away more than 3 billion batteries, totaling 180,000 tons of hazardous waste, according to environmentalist groups, and this number continues to grow with the proliferation of wireless IoT sensors. On-board electromagnetic energy harvesting eliminates wireless sensor battery waste.

PRODUCTS

WePower has pioneered a groundbreaking way to harvest kinetic energy using electromagnetic induction to power wireless sensors and related devices at a significantly higher energy level than any other kinetic EHG solutions on the market. WePower has optimized Gemns EHGs to increase energy output from typical prior levels of 100uJ to levels of over 3mJ, with further improvements being made constantly. The kinetic energy transient provided by Gemns can be used to operate a sensor, perform calculations, form a data packet, and send a radio signal with the range and reliability necessary to advance the RF communication needs of the IoT industry. Gemns category-defining output level will enable reliable, large-scale deployment of wireless sensors and transmitters in industrial, automotive, smart home, smart office, smart city, and aerospace applications.

Gemns G100 Integrated RF Switch

A wireless industrial push button, the G100 has been tested to over 1 million activations and has served as our proof of concept for the growing Gemns product lineup. It includes space for Gemns’ energy harvesting circuit and another PCB that would typically be the transmitter. Anticipated applications beyond industrial will include automotive, smart home and city, and anywhere activation methods beyond a push button are considered.

Gemns G200 EHG

The workhorse of the Gemns lineup, this is our most powerful EHG. Initially designed for industrial IoT applications in safety and limit switches, the expected applications where the G200 will excel include automotive, home/office IoT, and other higher energy applications.

Gemns G300 EHG

A high-output device that requires less force to activate, making it useful for consumer products in lighting and smart home devices, as well as in future IoT products where new activation methods will be explored.

PATENTS

Created by a veteran entrepreneur and engineering executives from the wireless electronics and automotive industries, WePower has a broad portfolio of IP patents issued and pending and a growing platform of EHG products that are ready for OEM design and integration.

Appl. No.Date FiledPublication No.Patent No.Grant Date
13/775,461Feb. 25, 2013US-2014-03751649343931May 17, 2016
15/074,551May 18, 2016US-2016-020466510270301Apr. 23, 2019
14/715,971May 19, 2015US-2015-03578939543817Jan. 10, 2017
15/363,335Nov. 29, 2016US-2017-00777949923443Mar. 20, 2018
14/535,498Nov. 7, 2014US-2016-01341739673683Jun. 6, 2017
14/730,714Jun 4, 2015US-2016-03594019843248Dec. 12, 2017
15/358,625Nov. 22, 2016US-2018-014556110348160Jul. 9, 2019
16/173,341Oct. 29, 2018US 2019-013109811251007Feb. 15, 2022

Markets Served

WePower will enable reliable, large-scale deployment of IoT devices for industrial, automotive, smart home, smart office, smart city, and aerospace applications.

Automotive

Gemns devices will find a home in automotive applications as automakers strive for continued reductions in weight and wiring complexity. Gemns technology can be used in window controls, door locks, tire pressure sensors, key fobs, and countless future applications.

Energy

Remote power generation poses financial and logistical challenges to grid operators, as wiring costs often dramatically exceed instrumentation costs and communications back from wind, solar, and hydroelectric plants can be spotty. Gemns devices address both of these core concerns.

Industrial

The wiring required for limit/safety switches and emergency on/off buttons in factory settings was the initial challenge Gemns was designed to address. With the new availability of the Gemns energy harvesting circuit in support of the G100 and G200, a robust wireless network with batteryless sensors is now possible in industrial and manufacturing applications.

Smart Home

Eliminating the need for batteries in transmitters introduces new utility in smart home networks with potential applications in gates, fences and pet doors, smart toilets and other water sensors, remotes for automated devices like garage door openers and smart shades, and many other areas.

Lighting

When not using a control device like a smart phone or touchpad, smart homes and buildings in the future won’t control their lighting with wired switches in preset locations but rather with self-powered wireless switches placed wherever desired. The Gemns G300 device will facilitate this evolution, as it eliminates the need for wiring or replacement batteries.

Smart Buildings

HVAC systems that sense the flow of air in remote vents, wireless water sensors that can pinpoint a leak in larger buildings, and mouse traps that signal when they’ve been activated are just a few of the many uses for Gemns in smart building applications.

Aerospace

Air and space travel present significant challenges with regard to the weight, wiring, production, and capacity of onboard electrical energy sources. Gemns devices can address some of these concerns while also giving manufacturers greater flexibility with where they locate switches and buttons.