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The authors study the problem of augmenting battery-powered sensornet trees with energy-harvesting leaf nodes. Their results show that leaf nodes that are smaller in size than today's typical battery-powered sensors can harvest enough energy from ambient sources to acquire and transmit sensor readings every minute, even under poor lighting conditions. However, achieving this functionality, especially as leaf nodes scale in size, requires new platforms, protocols, and programming. Platforms must be designed around low-leakage operation, offer a richer power supply control interface for system software, and employ an unconventional energy storage hierarchy.
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