September 25-27, 2016

 Providence, Rhode Island, USA

Alanson Sample, Disney Research

Running on Empty: Getting Work Done on Battery-Free Energy Harvesting Platforms

Energy-autonomous computing and sensing devices have the potential to extend the reach of computing to a scale beyond either wired or battery-powered systems. This emerging class of battery-free devices harvests all their energy from the environment and typically operates off of a few microfarads of local energy storage. This poses a unique set of challenges for system architects and application developers as these energy constrained devices experience power intermittence which causes the system to reset and power-cycle unpredictably, tens to hundreds of times per second. Furthermore, workloads on energy harvesting devices are not only dictated by the available power but the order of execution is often not reversible due to the voltage dependencies of system peripherals. This talk will introduce several energy-autonomous computing platforms along with energy-interference-free debugging tools that allow workloads to be monitored in an unobtrusive manor.


Alanson Sample is a Research Scientist at Disney Research in Pittsburgh where he leads the Wireless Systems group. His research focuses on enabling new guest experiences and sensing and computing devices by applying novel approaches to electromagnetics, RF and analog circuits, and embedded systems. Past research projects include the development of long-range passive RFID tags enhanced with sensing and computing capabilities, the use of coupled magnetic resonance as a means of wirelessly powering consumer electronics and medical implants, and ambient energy harvesting. Alanson received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 2011 from the University of Washington. Throughout his graduate studies, he worked full time at Intel Research, Seattle exploring a wide range of wireless power transfer methods and applications.