A member of our Innovation Community stands before international success: General Mechatronics Ltd. has developed an innovative smart sensor and tracker. The uniqueness of the small device is significantly enhanced by the fact that it can operate for up to three years without external power supply and charging. See the short introductory video here:
There is a lot of tech news and articles about how unimaginably fast data transfer becomes and what frequencies you have never heard about will be able to do with the mobile device of the future, even to the communication of self-driving cars. However, little is said about what next-generation mobile networks can offer in terms of low-bandwidth technologies and what new opportunities it will open up that will affect our daily lives – perhaps not so far away in the future.
- For example, many road accidents that result from dropped or stolen signs can be prevented because this small device immediately notifies the road operator if the sign moves or relocates.
- The current position of forgotten luggage at the airport, a car part that has disappeared from the depot or is not being documented, or a transport container can also be tracked with the help of the device.
- The range of possibilities is endless: the NaBi sensor not only indicates movement, but also temperature change.
As an outside observer, this is broadly what a end user can grasp, but now let’s see what extra information NaBi can provide us with:
Instead of getting confused by the multitude of three-letter abbreviations, one of the less frequently mentioned advantages of new technologies is that at low bandwidth, the energy consumption required to transmit useful data is significantly reduced. This was also recognized by the team of General Mechatronics starting from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. Within the 4-5G mobile technology, the so-called Narrow-Band IoT communication, where the frequency band not only uses higher but also older – below 1 GHz – bands for better signal propagation. In addition, the communication protocol has been streamlined during the development of the standard to such an extent that the same amount of data can be sent at only one-fifth of the consumption of a previous 2G device using GPRS.
The engineers made a breakthrough in portable, battery-powered smart sensors through low power consumption and some tricks, extending the previously few weeks of operation to several years. All this means that objects and devices and their condition can be traced on a map for years, objects that does not even have a power supply, and at the same time no regular charging is required. So imagine an approx. hen-egg-sized IoT gadget that, when thrown into a gym bag, we know even years from now, for example, whether we forgot it in the pool’s dressing room and if so, when.
According to Dr. Géza Szayer, co-founder of General Mechatronics and one of the developers of the smart sensor NaBi Solo, the new mobile communication technologies will fundamentally revolutionize the logistics, rental and other tracking industries, as well as the related market, such as insurance. In case of the latter, the responsibilities become clearer and the occurrence of a possible damage event can be clearly traced.
In addition to the above, the long service life of NaBi Solo is lithium thionyl chloride (Li-SoCl2) – a non-rechargeable – goliath-sized element with a characteristic capacity of about 14 Ah (!). And the electronics are just a small circular circuit located at the end of the battery, which, however, carries a number of sensors in addition to communication and GPS: implementing acceleration, orientation, vibration, and temperature measurements.
And here comes the trick: lifespan is not only provided by evolving communications and battery technology, but as you move along with the world of smart sensors, NaBi lets you set at what sensor data and events for example, to provide you with GPS location or notification. Thus, it is also feasible that in logistics, NaBi only sends us a position if the package is just starting from a location or has arrived at a depot, thus multiplying the estimated battery life. In the same way, it can be set to send an immediate alarm in the event of high temperature, overturning or free fall, along with determining the location of the suspected damage event.
NaBi Solo, as a stand-alone cell-based smart mobile device, doesn’t need WiFi or any other access points with other connections, it works virtually anywhere on its own – for years.
But apart from the gym bag, what’s it good for?
Last year a few dozen prototypes were installed in the most interesting places for pilot projects where IoT hadn’t broken in before. For example, it has been installed in a column of traffic signs, the disappearance and fall of which can cause serious traffic accidents. Or it visited, for example, the buckets of huge grapples and the tipping platform of dump trucks, where, in addition to tracking, it also measured the operating hours during surface mining and optimized material handling processes. In the latter case, only twenty units saved many thousands of liters of fuel during the construction of the Zagyva Dam, where 1.3 million cubic meters of land had to be moved efficiently to keep the lands of the surrounding area and farmers safe even at higher water levels.
You can learn more about the NaBi smart sensor at www.nabitrack.com.