Increasing concern for IoT sustainability and, more practically, for greater sensor device autonomy has helped drive extensive R&D, but few concrete applications, over the past decade in the field of energy harvesting (gathering minute quantities of energy from a device’s surroundings and using this to charge a battery or supercapacitor). Technologies go from the now-mundane, such as photovoltaic harvesting, which is already widely deployed in outdoors IoT installations, to the quirky, such as harvesting energy from sweat for applications in wearables, with these latter projects mostly in early research stages. When referring to energy harvesting, this ABI Insight refers specifically to non-photovoltaic methods of harvesting energy—and primarily vibration and RF harvesting. When the futuristic is peeled away from the feasible, a number of recent market developments have demonstrated industry interest, pointing to promising new applications that could transform how the IoT is powered.
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