Tag Archives: Connected Devices

Radar Sensors for Smart Homes Enable Energy Efficiency

With the increase in the application of smart homes, the number of connected devices is also growing. Although this is making the lives of users more convenient, it is also resulting in an increase in energy consumption. This is due to the devices being either permanently active or in standby mode, ready for use at all times, even when there is no one home. Now Infineon is offering their radar sensor, the XENSIV, to make smart homes become more energy-efficient.

By an estimate, at present, there are more than 200 million smart homes around the world. This number is forecast to exceed 500 million by the end of a few years in the future.

The use of digital devices with increasingly ingenious functionalities helps to make houses smarter. However, there is a flip side to this—the increase in energy consumption—despite most modern devices showing a trend of steadily decreasing standby power consumption. This is because most smart devices need power even when they are in standby mode, to be capable of reacting instantaneously to user input. On many occasions, it is not at all necessary for a device to run in standby mode, consuming energy, primarily when there is no one present.

The radar sensor from Infineon aims to solve this issue while meeting the requirements of both digitization and energy efficiency. Capable of operating in almost all smart home systems, radar sensors are highly sensitive devices. They can detect the presence of a person and whether a device needs to be ready. This action is similar to that of the screensaver that kicks-in in on the monitor of a personal computer, when there is no activity from the mouse or keyboard after a certain time but reactivates the monitor as soon as the mouse or keyboard detects a new input. The truly smart and energy-saving device from Infineon, operating at 60 GHz, performs a reliable detection of the absence or presence of a human.

Devices like smart speakers, thermostats, and digital assistants consume very little power when in their normal standby mode. However, their energy consumption can reduce still further if they are forced into a deep sleep mode, especially when no one is around. Doing this can save a few more watts of power.

Other devices like a TV, laptop, sound system, or the air-conditioner can consume several 100 Watts when they are on. Switching them off when no one is likely to use them soon, such as when no one is present at home, can therefore save a lot of energy.

The radar-based smart device continuously checks to sense if there is anyone present or is moving about. If it detects there is no one present, it can switch other devices to a deep-sleep mode or switch them off entirely, thereby helping to save energy. The radar module consumes only about 0.1 W, and this is significantly lower than the energy demands of many other devices, even when they are in their standby mode.