IoT Strategies

Look, Ma – No Battery! PsiKick Gets $16.5M for Self-Sustaining IoT

IoT-focused startup PsiKick has raised $16.5 million in Series B funding for its self-sustaining low-power system-on-a-chip technology.

One of biggest challenges facing advocates of the Internet of Things (IoT) -- the concept that billions of new devices, from gas sensors to kettles, will get connected to wireless networks -- is battery life. With sensor-type devices, the battery life needs to be in the tens-of-years range as it will be uneconomic to replace batteries on a more regular basis. Yet many modern wireless radios -- at least in stock form -- will burn through battery life very quickly. (See Tea's Up: The IoT Is Boiling!)

For more on IoT trends, visit the Internet of Things channel on Light Reading.

Enter PsiKick Inc., a Santa Clara, Calif.-based startup, which has developed a batteryless technology for sensors that harvests energy from "indoor and outdoor solar, thermal gradients, RF, vibration, and more," according to its technology primer.

"Our technology provides the fundamental building blocks upon which a trillion-sensor world will be built," claims the company. "By creating truly self-powered sensing solutions, we endeavor to free the world from the constraints of batteries and enable a true Internet of Everything."

The latest $16.5 million round is led by Osage University Partners and joined by existing investors New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and the University of Michigan Investment in New Technologies Fund (MINTS), as well as angel investors. The startup, which was formed in summer 2012, has raised more than $22 million in VC funding. The new money will go towards hiring more engineers to further develop its batteryless IoT systems.

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— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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MordyK 1/8/2016 | 1:11:59 PM
Re: Extraordinary claims Absolutely! but if you have a super low power sensor with a super low power RF interface like BLE or RF, you have the ingredients for a self contained device that has no external power needs. Like I said it's still early days, but I think we'll start seeing some nteresting things in the next 2-3 year timeframe as the tech matures.
kq4ym 1/8/2016 | 12:49:17 PM
Re: Extraordinary claims If they indeed can design the devices to use micro amounts of power, it's all a good possibility assuming too that the efficiency of the "harvesting" of energy from thermal shifts, etc. can be successfully enabled. After all you still can't get anywhere near 100% efficiency in the converstion to direct current energy.
MordyK 1/8/2016 | 11:18:16 AM
Re: Extraordinary claims I just saw this and thought I should share it. I believe that technologies like these will enable an entirely new type of wearable and medical scenarios
DanJones 1/7/2016 | 10:23:29 AM
Re: enocean Thanks!
gregw33 1/7/2016 | 8:17:46 AM
enocean Interesting and solves one of the major IoT issues, power, the other being "backhaul".   If you're not familiar with Enocean you may want to check them out.  Plus. IMHO they have a real cool logo.
MordyK 1/4/2016 | 8:50:46 AM
Re: Extraordinary claims Tanks T. I'll look them up. With carrier's now playing a role in the IoT market, I'm sure they'll play a role as well.

I dont see a mainstream technology going to mass market really fast, but the maturation of many research projects will culminate in a growing market in the medium to long term IMO.

For an investor, now would be the time to start searching for technologies and making those investments.
t.bogataj 1/4/2016 | 8:36:07 AM
Re: Extraordinary claims MordyK, I agree, the availability of energy sources can be an issue. One way to address it is the so-called SWIPT (Simultaneous Wireless Information and Power Transfer), another is to combine different energy sources (RF, wind, light, vibration, thermal, biological, etc.).

I am sorry I cannot share them (copyright), but if you are interested, several articles on the subject were published in IEEE Communications Magazine (April 2015 and June 2015) and in IEEE Network (May/June 2015).

MordyK 1/4/2016 | 8:02:39 AM
Re: Extraordinary claims Thanks T. for sharing, as I didnt see that. Let me therefore change it to "energy harvesting is still in its infancy".

There's some real interesting research going on at Duke as well.

I'd like to point out a problem highlighted by the article, in regard to the effects of that particular technology approach on surrouding devices. If as they admit it causes a reduction in service within a few feet, any widescale deployment of this technology would cause a bunch of small blackspots which would have an impact, which is not a concern when its an extremely limited number of devices.

That said I am extremely bullish on all forms of wireless charging and energy harvesting long term.
t.bogataj 1/4/2016 | 5:30:01 AM
Re: Extraordinary claims @MordyK ("Many of the methods of harvesting ... have to date not made it to market.")


Check this story: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-30/a-british-lord-is-using-wi-fi-to-power-a-pollution-sensor.

Energy-harvesting IoT is the next big thing.

thebulk 12/31/2015 | 11:24:39 AM
Re: Extraordinary claims Of course the investers do their best to chedk and make sure things are on the up and up. but a lot of times a fund will invest with a company if the team has a good track record and the tech seems like it coul dhave a good payout if it works out. 
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