This year is the first time I had attended Radio & Wireless Week in Phoenix, AZ thanks to the heads-up from my colleague Martin Rowe, Editor of Test & Measurement on EDN and an EETimes editor as well.
Since I live in Arizona, I thought it was worth a trip into town to see what this conference was all about. After reviewing the topics for conferences, I was pretty impressed because this is one of the first tech conferences early in the year and I thought it might be a harbinger of things to come in the RF world this year and beyond.
My first stop at the event was a small group of tables with a group of grammar school students who will soon be presenting their ideas at a regional Science Fair. They had brought their projects which ranged from RF Energy Harvesting, AM Radio design and AM Radio Waves. They were called the ‘C-6 Team’, sixth-graders from the Kyrene Middle School in Tempe, AZ.
The first exhibit I visited was the one on Energy Harvesting with a demo for RF Energy Harvesting. Young Zachary Mehall was eager to tell me what the definition of Energy Harvesting was. Then he went on to tell me that in this project, he built an RF energy harvester that turns radio waves into DC energy. His design uses a rectifier technique to convert the AC RF waves in the ambient into a DC current. The design used 6 electrolytic capacitors, 10 ceramic capacitors, and four Germanium diodes, Zachary commented. He said that his harverster could produce 10 to 100 mV that was not enough to power a radio but it was just a demonstration of what could be done in harvesting RF signals that are all around us. ( I want this young man on my design team when he gets older!)
The Energy Harvesting concept
Zachary Mehall and his RF ambient Energy Harvesting project
Another bright and motivated student had an AM Radio design and explanation regarding the building of such a radio. Here he is explaining the AM radio concept to me
This display was part of the AM radio project and it outlines the steps that took place to create an AM radio and shows the student performing those tasks
Dominic Ray also had an exhibit on AM Radio Waves and he explained the hypothesis and schematic of his project to me. Hi hypothesis stated that ‘If I get a radio wave kit, I can then set it up based on the wiring schematic because I learned how to read schematics by the “Electronic Playground’s” legend in its handbook. Here is the kit.
It’s always good to have a seasoned-veteran mentor
Here is Mrs. O’Bryan, a Science teacher at the Kyrene Middle School. This vibrant, motivating educator is someone who fuels the imagination of these youngsters to be excited about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Just like some of the educators I had in my grammar school that encouraged me.
Very shortly I will be publishing articles about the ‘big’ boys and girls in universities around the world that exhibited at this conference as well. And finally, I will also highlight the technical papers presented at this conference on Planet Analog and on EDN and discuss what is coming for RF in 2017.