Thursday, January 10, 2008

Wireless Self-Powered Switches

Wireless switches are nothing new; they've been used for ages. Being able to place a switch anywhere you want without drilling holes in your walls and routing cables is quite appealing. More so, if you don't like the switch where it currently is, you can just detach it and place it somewhere else - so it's not covered by your new furniture, for instance.

However, until recently, they all had one major flaw: batteries.

I don't know about you, but I really hate batteries. It's more the certain that the battery will run dry in the worst possible moment - probably just as you were about to throw a party, leaving you in dark.

So, can't we fix this issue once and for all?

Yes you can: with wireless self-powered switches!

There's no "but" attached, it really works as advertised, using an ingenious system.
EnOcean is a company specialized in self-powered devices (the kind all devices should be) and holds lots of patents in the field.

When it comes to wireless switches, they were able to generate enough energy to transmit the status change by the "flicking" of the switch movement alone! Really amazing, isn't it?

Don't expect to use WiFi, ZigBee or Bluetooth though. The minute amount of energy available forced to use a proprietary protocol which allows them to transmit the data three times (for reliability) and possibly more if there's still enough energy left to try further retransmissions.

It's not quite wireless electricity, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.

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