Energy Research at the University of Washington

Brian Otis

Energy Research Area: Ultra-low power microscale circuit design for energy harvesting wireless sensing.

Assistant Professor
College of Engineering
Electrical Engineering

Emerging applications of wireless sensors require new levels of system integration, functionality, and lifetime. Future wireless smartphone interfaces, body area networks, industrial and home monitoring, and implantable devices demand wireless technology beyond the state-of-the-art. These applications place increasingly severe demands on circuit and system designers. Miniaturization and power concerns, already important considerations in portable radio design, are amplified in these emerging wireless sensor applications. Additionally, there are several needs on the horizon that will demand completely thin-film integration of RF transceivers, prohibiting surface-mount components of any kind. To realize this vision, we are working in the following research areas:

•Ultra-low power transmitters and receivers for wireless sensing. We have demonstrated the lowest power MICS/ISM narrowband transceivers reported to date.

•Low power, high performance frequency sources and clocks using FBAR resonators. Through a longstanding collaboration with Avago Technologies, we have demonstrated oscillators, radios, frequency synthesizers, and amplifiers that, when co-designed with FBAR resonators, provide superior performance over xisting technology.

•Circuits and system for bioelectrical interfaces. Recent developments in neuroscience and brain-computer interfaces has led to the vision of implantable closed-loop brain computer interfaces for assisting persons with disabilities. To make this possible, brain interface chips that can be chronically implanted while wirelessly transmitting and processing massive amounts of data are necessary. This is an extremely challenging problem, and will be a great technology driver for circuit innovations that will impact fields beyond medicine. With collaborators in the U.W. School of Medicine, we are working on low power ICs for ECoG and single-unit recording. Additionally, we are working on a collaborative project with Prof. Babak Parviz on integrating wireless chips onto an active contact lens.

•Encounternet: Ultra-Low Power Wireless Animal Tracking for Social Networking Experimentation. Led by Dr. John Burt, we are developing wireless technologies that can be worn by small birds in the field for weeks at a time to provide previously unavailable data to animal researchers. Dr. Burt has performed successful deployments in Costa Rica and Seattle's Discovery Park. We are currently using off-the-shelf electronics, and are in the process of integrating WSL chips and energy harvesting technology into the Encounternet platform to realize significant improvements in functionality and battery life.

A 0.35gram wirelessly-powered sensor using a custom-designed 0.13µm CMOS chip. This system has been used to collect the first completely un-tethered in-flight body temperature measurements from a hawkmoth.
A 0.35gram wirelessly-powered sensor using a custom-designed 0.13µm CMOS chip. This system has been used to collect the first completely un-tethered in-flight body temperature measurements from a hawkmoth.

Campus and Other Collaborators/Partners

Record last updated on November 28th 2011 PST.