Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Active Energy Harvester

We are investigating different survival techneques for micropower devices. Rather than cleverly managing whatever energy is available to an inanimate device it is interesting to see what advantage devices that actively hunt for energy may have.

This project is a solar powered robot that uses a tiny RC-servo to slowly scan the surroundings for solar power. Like some flowers it follows the movement of the sun during the day.

All energy needed to move the solar panels and run the robots microcontroller is stored in an tiny Lithium battery during time with excess solar energy. During nighttime the mechanical function is shut off and only the robots brain is kept running. During periods of energy starvation the robot goes into deep hibernation saving the battery from being destroyed by deep discharge.