Researchers from the Green IC research group at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have invented a low-cost ‘battery-less’ wake-up timer – in the form of an on-chip circuit – that drastically reduces power consumption of silicon chips for the Internet of Things (IoT) sensor nodes. The novel wake-up timer by the NUS team demonstrates for the first time the achievement of power consumption down to true pico-Watt range (1 billion times lower than a smartwatch).
According to team leader Associate Professor Massimo Alioto from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the NUS Faculty of Engineering, the group has developed a novel wake-up timer that operates in the pico-Watt range and cuts power consumption of rarely-active IoT sensor nodes by 1,000 times. As an element of uniqueness, the wake-up timer does not need any additional circuitry, as opposed to conventional technologies, which require peripheral circuits consuming at least 1,000 times more power, for instance, the voltage regulators. This is a major step towards accelerating the development of IoT infrastructure and paves the way for the aggressive miniaturization of IoT devices for long-lasting operations.
The research was conducted in association with Associate Professor Paolo Crovetti from the Politecnico di Torino in Italy. The NUS invention substantially reduces power consumption of wake-up timers embedded in IoT sensor nodes.
This technology breakthrough was announced at the 2018 Symposia on VLSI Technology and Circuits in Honolulu, Hawaii, the premier global forum where advances in systems-on-chip and solid-state circuits are presented.