Colloquium - Nurani Saoda, "Designing Batteryless Energy-harvesting Sensors for Sustainable Internet-of-Things"
The Internet-of-Things holds the promise of realizing ubiquitous computing in its full potential. Sensors have become an integral part of our everyday lives, that sense, compute, and communicate to monitor humans, pets, wildlife, marine life, plants, crops, buildings, factories, city infrastructures, and many others. As the network of computing devices continues to grow rampantly, in a decade, there will be a hundred sensors per person on earth. At this scale, the dark side of computing manifests: an intractable amount of harmful e-waste produced from short-lived batteries and outdated electronics. To address this challenge, my research argues that perpetually-powered energy-harvesting devices, instead of battery-powered ones, are the key to enforce sustainable Internet-of-Things.
Self-powered devices are perpetual, zero-maintenance, eco-friendly, and pervasively deployable. Along with sustainable power, another crucial insight is to utilize devices that are already installed in place to enable long-lasting design points through retrofitting and repurposing. However, the energy intermittency inherent in batteryless power supplies impose two major challenges that limit the adoptability of energy-harvesting sensors: complexity in application design and highly unreliable service quality. To address these challenges, I will present ALTAIR, an energy supervisor architecture, that abstracts the details of energy management from application software to simplify batteryless designs while maximizing application’s sensing quality. To empower existing sensors, I will present two sustainable design points by extending the functionality of an energy-harvesting power supply to enable novel sensing techniques. RetroIoT upgrades existing IoT devices with additional sensing features as well as replaces batteries with an energy-harvesting power supply. SolarWalk design point that transforms a photovoltaic energy-harvester to an accurate human-identifying sensor. Lastly, I will conclude the talk by laying out my research vision for sustainable IoT expanding to a broad range of applications with various resource-constraints imposed by a challenging environment, form-factor, and deployabability.
Nurani Saoda is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She received her PhD in Computer Engineering from University of Virginia in 2023, advised by Prof. Brad Campbell. Her interdisciplinary research aims to enable green and sustainable computing for ubiquitous sensing in the domain of Internet-of-Things, mobile computing, and wearables. Her research interest lies in energy-harvesting and intermittent systems, low power embedded systems design, edge machine learning, and wireless sensing. Her work combines hardware and software systems efficiently to introduce better energy-management as well as novel, accurate, and reconfigurable sensing, empowering sensors embedded in our daily life to enable a healthy planet and its inhabitants. She explores and develops computing techniques that involve novel design architectures and end-to-end systems to ensure sustainable operation of devices with decades-long lifetime. Her research has been published in top sensing conferences and workshops including ACM IPSN, MobiCom, SenSys-ENSsys, BuildSys, and IEEE SECON. She is the recipient of several awards including UIUC Grainger Distinguished Fellowship and Future Faculty Fellowship 2023, CPS Rising Stars 2023, University of Virginia Link Lab Seminar Award 2022, Best Paper at IEEE ICCIT, and Runner-up of ACM SIGBED SRC. More information can be found at, https://nsaoda.github.io/