Ultra-low power control system for maximal energy harvesting from short duration vibrations

Krishna Vijayaraghavan, Rajesh Rajamani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


With the advent of ultra-low power sensor packages, there is renewed interest in harvesting vibration energy to power them, thus creating a self sustaining battery-less sensor system. The optimal algorithms previously developed in literature to harvest vibration energy are complex and hence require controllers that consume a significant amount of power. The relatively high power requirement combined with the inherent complex design of these algorithms would also limit them to only applications in which sustained vibration energy is available for harvesting. To address these issues, this paper presents new control systems to optimize the amount of energy harvested from short duration vibrations. Only algorithms that can be implemented using simple ultra-low power analog electronic components are considered. The first algorithm termed "fixed threshold switching", has been adapted from literature on harvesting energy from sustained vibration. The second and third algorithms are new optimal control algorithms termed "maximum voltage switching" and "switched inductor", respectively. The three algorithms are theoretically evaluated and compared for a short duration vibration application. The final section of this paper presents experimental results from the implementation of all the three algorithms on a new battery-less wireless traffic sensor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5169971
Pages (from-to)252-266
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Manuscript received May 17, 2008. Manuscript received in final form March 11, 2009. First published July 21, 2009; current version published February 24, 2010. Recommended by Associate Editor P. Meckl. This work was supported in part by a research grant from the ITS Institute, University of Minnesota. The authors are with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA (e-mail: rajamani@me.umn.edu). Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TCST.2009.2018135


  • Battery-less
  • Energy harvesting
  • Optimal vibration energy harvesting
  • Short duration vibrations
  • Standalone sensors
  • Traffic sensor
  • Ultra-low power control systems
  • Wireless


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