SOR’s wholly-owned venture Australian Advanced Materials Pty Ltd (AAM) is developing the self-charging battery technology along with a material science team at the University of New South Wales.
The technology opportunity is for an environmentally friendly, renewable, and cost-effective method of harvesting energy from moisture in the air.
SOR’s goal is to print a prototype battery pack producing over a milliamp of electrical current solely from moisture (humidity).
Charge out of thin air
During FY2020-21, SOR’s self-charging battery technology achieved a number of significant milestones which included:
- Successful scale-up of the battery ink by manufacturing a 1-litre batch size of battery Ink with the capacity to produce 2000 battery cells.
- Successfully generating an output of over 4V from moisture in the air over a testing period of approx. 5 hours. This was achieved through the development of a prototype battery pack containing multiple connected battery ink cells.
- Fabricated battery cells onto a flexible textile cloth and mechanically bent over 2000 times. This was a significant milestone as current battery technologies (alkaline, coin, lithium) are rigid and bulky and are not suitable for flexible electronics or in very small and thin devices.
- Successfully powering an IoT device equipped with both temperature and humidity sensors and onboard Bluetooth communication.
Focus on electronic skin patch sector
SOR’s initial market focus remains on wearables and Internet of Things (IoT) related devices as they have lower energy output requirements such as cosmetic, pressure, environmental and health (e.g. diabetes or cardiovascular monitoring).
Skin patches are wearable products that have integrated electronic components such as sensors that are attached to the surface of the skin.
The electronic skin patch sector produced US$10 billion in revenue in 2019 and is forecast by IDTechx to grow to nearly US$40 billion by 2030.
Transparent flexible memory technology
SOR and the University of New South Wales have also been developing the Nanocube Memory Ink technology.
Nanocube Memory Ink is a transparent ink containing billions of nanometre-scale particles.
When printed onto a glass or plastic surface and assembled with electrodes they operate as computer memory.
A one-megabit demonstrator is under development, however, the rapid success of the Battery Ink led SOR to divert some resources away from the Nanocube Memory and deploy them to escalate the Battery Ink development.
SOR is in discussion with potential overseas development partners that may be able to conduct certain aspects of the Nanocube Memory development to supplement the existing team.
AxV automation and robotics platform
SOR’s wholly-owned venture, Stealth Technologies Pty Ltd, is developing an automation and robotics platform (AxV) to automate tasks currently performed manually by humans or semi-autonomously by machines.
Stealth has an experienced in-house team of international award-winning PhD and Masters qualified research engineers with deep capabilities in artificial intelligence, computer vision and robotics (hardware and software).
During FY2020-21, Stealth achieved a number of important milestones which have proven the team’s commitment to technical innovation and ability to commercially deliver to a high standard.
Autonomous platform in security sector
Stealth has developed the first autonomous security vehicle (ASV) of its kind anywhere in the world.
The ASV is designed to automate perimeter security and will be deployed to increase the security of the perimeter and reduce human involvement in testing and patrols.
The global perimeter security market is forecast to reach US$282.26 billion by 2025.
The recent focus has been on achieving site acceptance testing of the ASV developed for the Western Australian Department of Justice at the Eastern Goldfields Regional Prison.
Site acceptance testing saw the ASV seamlessly integrated into the prison’s security management platform and navigate pre-defined missions to test all aspects of the interior and exterior perimeter.
Testing of the perimeter is aided by a robotic actuator that extends out of the vehicle and simulates cutting or climbing of the fence.
With site acceptance testing achieved and the ASV successfully deployed, the parties have been active in negotiating a new agreement to further develop and commercialise the ASV.
Autonomous platform in defence sector
Stealth’s next-generation AxV Autonomous Platform is being upgraded with a ‘sensor fusion stack’ that includes additional sensors such as LiDAR, radar, GPS, sonar, thermal imaging and different types of cameras, with each sensor adding different strengths to the fusion data generated.
The company is collaborating with Defence Science Technology Group (DSTG), part of the Australian Department of Defence, and the University of Western Australia to build the solution and conduct a live demonstration to Army.
DSTG and the Western Australian Defence Science centre have committed to providing $500,000 in cash and in-kind resources.
Autonomous platform in agriculture sector
Stealth has also expanded the AxV custom robotics platform for use within the agriculture sector.
The need for excessive use of chemicals and production loss costs due to weeds are significant issues for the global agricultural industry.
Production losses are estimated in the tens of billions and weeds are becoming increasingly herbicide-resistant.
Stealth is taking a different approach to tackle this issue by leveraging the sophisticated sensor, mapping and localisation technology already built and used in its ASV collaboration with Honeywell.