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ZigBee Plans Energy-Harvesting Spec

San Ramon, Calif. — The ZigBee
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.