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Miniature, self-powering tracking device 'developed by accident'

23 May 2013

Roke Manor Research has developed a self-powering device which generates a radio signal that can be tracked up to an estimated 200km away.

Roke's lifejacket application for the AGITATE wireless tracking device

The device, called AGITATE, is currently the size of a five pence piece. A small dielectric is charged, and when shaken the tag generates a radio signal that can be tracked through walls and up to 20km in built-up areas, with an estimated range of 200km in free space. The device requires no battery, as shaking it converts mechanical energy into radio pulses.

Roke’s research and design team anticipate that AGITATE could be produced for a few pence per unit and would have a broad range of tracking applications. Potential uses might include a low cost method of monitoring and regulating the use of lifejackets, with built in man-overboard capability.

Other applications include remote sensing for flood monitoring and alerts; in the industrial sector for remote sensing of motion and vibration fault detection in harsh environments; in the retail sector as security tags on high-value goods or in the healthcare sector for keeping track of patients, such as those suffering from dementia.

The AGITATE miniature, self-powering tracking device

The research and development team has already completed UK trials across 26km of variable terrain. Further Roke investment is focused on reducing AGITATE’s footprint and increasing the unit's RF output power.

Roke's Peter Lockhart says AGITATE was developed by accident. However, he pays tribute to the research team for recognising a potential application and bringing it to fruition, developing a simple yet highly usable technology.


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