As technology advances, we are beginning to see an emphasis on building smarter devices that fully leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI). However, progress in this direction comes with its own set of unique consequences.
For AI to be a valuable asset within our society, it needs to be able to match, if not exceed, the speed of human thinking. This means the need for high-speed processing with minimal latency. To achieve this, edge computing is often used, which allows AI algorithms to process locally on hardware devices. And while this may often be seen as strictly a function of PCB design alone, an indirect– yet critical– factor is battery capacity.
For a device to process excessive amounts of data locally, it will inevitably require and draw more power in doing so. From a consumer perspective, this typically means a ‘bigger battery.’ However, from a product design perspective, a ‘bigger battery’ means a ‘bigger sized product’ leading to user inconvenience and added development costs.
Instead, when designing your tech-based product, you want to consider at least one of the following two approaches:
- Leverage innovative battery technologies
- Build an efficient PCB in order to minimize power consumption
Innovative Power Sources
One of the biggest pitfalls of solar renewable energy until this point has been it’s low yield. However, this is beginning to change as scientists are finding new types of materials and compounds that are better in capturing and converting solar energy into electricity. According to one article, when a newly utilized material called perovskite is mixed with the long-standing, solar farm leveraged material silicone, new efficiency levels are being reached, without adding to the cost of making the panels.
PCB Design Optimization
The other area to focus on for improving AI power hungry devices is through effectively designing your PCB for optimal efficiency. This can be achieved through using the right components that consume less energy, or, in one case, no energy at all from the battery. Yes, you read that correctly! The Wiliot bluetooth tag is a printable computer the size of a postage stamp that harvests all its energy from ambient radio waves. This component, referred to as Battery-Free IoT, has built in RAM, ROM, sensors, bluetooth, ARM CPU, flash memory, secure communication and doesn’t use any power from the battery. For drone technology this is key as the more energy that can be put towards the actual payload and flight time, the more successful it will be in the ever-expanding marketplace.
As you can see, there are options you have to ensure you generate the necessary ‘juice’ to stay current in an ever-growing competitive market. And what’s competitive now, will become expected later as powering drones turns to powering flying cars (Yes, you also read that correctly).