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ZigBee Plans Energy-Harvesting Spec

6/29/2009 03:36:28 PM Eastern

San Ramon, Calif. — The ZigBee Alliance is drafting an energy-harvesting specification that would enable switches and sensors equipped with its wireless home-control technology to operate without batteries and without a connection to a home's power lines.

ZigBee's Green Power spec would enable low-function devices - such as ZigBee-enabled on-wall light switches, dimmers, motion detector, moisture sensors and door sensors - to harvest energy from small solar cells, from heat or from the conversion of mechanical energy to electrical energy. In the case of a light switch, for example, the mechanical energy created by the press of a button or the flick of a switch would be converted into a small electrical charge, which in turn would power an embedded ZigBee transmitter, a spokesman said. The ZigBee signal would then turn on ZigBee-equipped lights.

The standard will be available to Alliance members at the end of 2009, the group said. Products equipped with the Green Power spec would communicate with existing ZigBee and ZigBee Pro wireless-RF mesh-network devices and "enable maintenance free, environmentally friendly products that eliminate the need for wires and batteries," the group said.

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