This solar-powered chip reminds us to close the windows
A new kind of radio chip is intended to warn when windows are left open. This way, you can avoid having the heat go out the window on cold days. The sensor also detects break-in attempts early on. The key: This maintenance-free chip powers up with energy supplied by solar power.
Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems developed a tiny chip that is designed to be mounted on the window’s aluminum frame, between the panes of glass. Covered by a solar cell, the chip can store enough power during daylight hours to operate throughout the night.
Using an integrated accelerometer and magnetometer, the chip is able to detect when the window has been opened, and by how much. If the window has been left open “too long” (such as once everyone has left the house for the day, or once the temperature has dropped significantly) it sends a radio signal to a base station in the home. That station in turn alerts the homeowner.
Additionally, if it detects movements that are unique to a locked window being forced open, it will signal the base station to sound an alarm, Gizmag writes.
The chip will be on display at the BAU trade fair in Munich, from January 19 to 24. Fraunhofer previously developed a similar system, in which the window sensor is powered both by a solar cell and a thermoelectric generator.
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