Published online by Cambridge University Press: 16 March 2016
A novel antenna-harvester co-design paradigm is presented for wireless nodes operating in an Internet of Things context. The strategy leads to compact and highly-integrated units, which are able to set up a reliable and energy-efficient wireless communication link, and to simultaneously harvest energy from up to three different sources, including thermal body energy, solar, and artificial light. The core of the unit consists of a substrate-integrated-waveguide (SIW) antenna. Its surface serves as a platform for the flexible energy-harvesting hardware, which also comprises the power management system. To demonstrate the approach, two different SIW cavity-backed slot antennas and a novel compact dual linearly polarized SIW antenna are presented. These topologies facilitate the integration of additional hardware without degrading performance. In the meantime, they enable comfortable integration into garments or unobtrusive embedding into floors or walls. Measurements on prototypes validate the integration procedure by verifying that the integrated hardware has a negligible influence on the performance of all discussed SIW antennas. Finally, measurements in four well-chosen indoor scenarios demonstrate that a hybrid energy-harvesting approach is necessary to obtain a more continuous flow and a higher amount of scavenged energy, leading to a higher system autonomy and/or reduced battery size.