EcoNation worked out the concept of a self-powered, autonomous daylight capture solution. We designed the electronics.
We are the technology subcontractor for EcoNation, an innovative company who designs and markets the Lightcatcher. The Lightcatcher is an intelligent daylight solution. A mirror inside a transparant dome tracks the brightest spot in the sky (most of the time: the sun) and reflects this daylight through a lens to uniformly distribute the daylight inside a building. 1 Lightcatcher can easily replace 100 square meters of artificial light during daytime, resulting in major electricity savings.
The solar tracking algorithm is patented by EcoNation and the Ghent University. We design and produce the central Lightcatcher PCB.
Key challenges we tackle in this design are:
- to develop a single-board system with all required components including a light separator
- implement the tracking algorithm in an energy-friendly way
- interface to all sensors while keeping the energy-draw low (light, temperature, position, humidity, motor stall, extra ADCs,…)
- implement wireless communication, based on an 802.15.4 chipset
- specific motor control to rotate the mirror
We have power optimized this complete system down to a 4mW average power consumption. In conjunction with a solar cell and battery pack for power, this makes the Lightcatcher an advanced green product that supports extended days of bad weather during winter.