Partial Battery-less Future of Smart Homes is Here

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In order to get rid of hazardous batteries, here is a solution developed by Rahil Jain and his team from the University of Washington. They have created a battery-less and wireless home monitoring system for smart homes.

Batteries contain many hazardous materials like nickel, cadmium, and cobalt and corrosive acids that eventually leach into the environment and contaminate the air, water and land. It takes around 100 years for a battery to decompose. However, even after decomposition, the chemicals within the battery have an indefinite timeline, meaning they never fully decay.

In order to prevent excessive pollution from batteries in the smart home segment, Electrical Engineering PhD students at the University of Washington wanted to develop a device that will limit the amount of battery use one house at a time. For this, they came up with their project called Airy, a battery-less and wireless home monitoring system.

Its compact sensor design features a micro-generator that produces electrical energy from the mechanical impact produced in the normal operation of opening and closing a door or a window. When the door is opened or closed a unique code is sent to WiFi hub. The WiFi hub then relays the action to the user through the mobile app.

“Each year, over 15 billion batteries are discarded into landfills. A bunch of these batteries comes from sensors that are used in smart homes”, said Rahil Jain, project lead. “One of the coolest things about Airy is that the sensors are battery-less. Above the convenience aspect, I cherish the feeling that by using these battery-less sensors, I am helping the environment by keeping (some) batteries away from the landfill,” he added.

Airy was the runner-up at the 2017 Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge (EIC), hosted by the Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship. The team now look forward to bringing Airy for the customers as sustainable smart home solutions.