Battery-free sensor project receives industry award

From left to right: Hubertus von Grünberg (former Chairman of ABB), Ambuj Varshney (award winner), Peter Voser (CEO and Chairman of ABB).

The 2019 ABB Research Award has been awarded to a project exploring ultra-low power and long-range communication system (LoRea) for battery-free sensors that harvest small amounts of energy from the ambient environment.

Dr. Ambuj Varshney’s research, which will receive a grant of US$300,000 over three years, reportedly has the potential to pave the way for a wide-area deployment of battery-free sustainable networked embedded systems (NES).

The ABB Research Award is presented every three years to the best Ph.D. dissertation in the fields of electrical, mechanical or software engineering, electronics, robotics, artificial intelligence, process automation, and any related technical discipline

Varshney, who received his Ph.D. in Computer Science in May 2018 from Uppsala University in Sweden, was recognised at a ceremony in Dättwil, Switzerland.

NES applications are rapidly on the rise. As the number of connected devices is expected to grow to 50 billion in 2020, one of the critical research challenges will be to sustain large-scale deployment. The jury said that Varshney´s research could support NES in a sustainable manner for a long period, without negatively impacting physical or radio environment.

“Ambuj Varshney is a worthy recipient of this award because his innovative approach could dramatically increase our capacity to collect, transmit and ultimately analyze data in an environmentally sustainable manner and so help to pave the way to autonomous industries,” said Peter Voser, Chairman and CEO of ABB.

Varshney said the award would help him work further towards his vision of a sustainable NES.

“This award enables me to leverage more than a century of expertise of ABB in developing innovative technologies to move ahead in the exciting direction of backscatter communication,” he said.