April 23, 2024

Everactive was co-founded by David Wentzloff and Benton Calhoun, SM ’02 Ph.D. (2006).

Everactive was founded in 2012 by Dave Wentzloff and Ben Calhoun. At the time, tech companies and analysts were anticipating an enormous increase in internet-connected devices. This is collectively known as the internet of things (IoT). IBM, for instance, forecasted a staggering 1 trillion IoT-connected devices by 2015.

Calhoun and Wentzloff were wiser. They had met while working in Anantha Chandrakasan’s research group at MIT as graduate students. Their shared knowledge of ultra-low power circuits meant that it was almost impossible to manage 1 trillion cells to support all the sensors required to collect, analyze and transmit data.

Wentzloff says that Ben and I realized that IoT projections couldn’t be made if all devices needed to run on batteries. Everactive was founded with the shared vision to rid the IoT of batteries and usher in the next generation of self-powered computing systems.

Many assets must be monitored in an industrial setting like a factory to maintain efficient operations. A real-time monitoring system that continuously streams data from all these points must quickly and efficiently relay information to stakeholders so they can respond to any problems that may interrupt operations, damage equipment, or cause environmental harm.

This isn’t easy to scale. It is expensive to deploy wired sensors in all locations. This is especially true when battery-powered solutions are considered, given our collective struggle for short battery life.

Calhoun says, “We have had industrial manufacturing customers say they have a maintenance problem. But if they use battery-powered solutions, they’re replacing their existing maintenance problems with a new problem of replacing thousands of batteries.”

Imagine this issue spreading to a world with 1 trillion IoT devices. Even if we reach a point where an IoT battery has a 10-year lifespan, the current industry goal, we would still be changing more than 270,000,000 batteries daily.

Wireless networking technology is an excellent solution to scaling problems. We need very high-density sensor networks that can communicate over long distances in environments that are not conducive to wireless signals to effectively address the needs of a manufacturing plant, let alone a world with 1 trillion nodes.

Everactive’s innovative solution solves both these problems simultaneously, getting rid of the batteries and reinventing low-power wireless networking with its unique technology: ultralow-power integrated circuits.

Yes, Calhoun was a graduate student at the Institute, and Wentzloff studied the same technology. They continued their research in the same area as they were professors at their undergraduate schools, the University of Virginia and the University of Michigan. They maintained close ties even after they completed their doctorates at MIT (Calhoun in 2006 and Wentzloff in 2007) and began to work together across university boundaries.

Calhoun’s research focused on low-power digital systems, while Wentzloff’s explored low-power communications. Wentzloff explains that “our specific areas of interests dovetail quite nicely to create complete solutions, so their groups started to cooperate — it became a very close connection.”

The co-founders of Everactive were looking to expand their startup. They tapped a group of newly-minted Ph.D. students with the ability to develop wireless system-on-chip technologies in the laboratory. Everactive now has a team of almost 90 industry veterans and technical specialists. This includes Alice Wang, who joined Everactive in 2018 with Calhoun, and Wentzloff after working with MediaTek and Texas Instruments. She is also an MIT alumna and VP of Hardware for Everactive. She directs both silicon- and hardware system design.

Wentzloff says, “We are extremely proud of the team we have developed.” Wentzloff says that we are still thriving because we have done a fantastic job of providing our core technology students with an array of industry leaders.

Everactive offers full-stack industrial IoT solutions powered exclusively by their Eversensors. They have made significant advances in wireless communication and ultra-low power circuits. They are more cost effective than traditional battery-powered devices and can be deployed on a larger scale. The Evercloud converts new data into actionable, high-value insights.

The steam trap monitor was their first product. These mechanisms might be found in small factories, but large chemical and oil refineries often have thousands.

Although steam is an outdated technology, it’s still a common energy source. It’s still used in power plants to produce electricity and is a common heat source in homes and buildings.

Calhoun explains that steam is an excellent way of moving energy across large areas. When steam is heated, it becomes water. Steam traps are valves that allow condensed water to leave the system and keep the steam in.

They can cause wasted energy, downtime, dangerous explosions, and even costly downtime if the process must be shut down. Monitoring thousands of steam traps for any malfunctions can be difficult. Wentzloff says that some steam traps are hidden in the ground. Others are two- or three stories high. It can be difficult for people to access them. Manual inspection is, therefore, a problem.

Everactive’s solution can be installed on any steam trap within a steam distribution system to monitor the system’s health. Armstrong International, the world’s second-largest steam trap manufacturer, chose to work with them. Calhoun says that Armstrong was so impressed by what we had to offer they have partnered to bring Everactive monitoring services and Armstrong’s steam traps to market.

They have many successful case studies, a key reason for their inclusion in MIT STEX25. Last year, they deployed their sensors in an industrial facility with 1,200 steam traps. The customer saved nearly $ 2.5 million in energy costs and 34,000 metric tons of CO2, “equivalent to approximately 7,000 passenger cars being removed from the road each year,” states Wentzloff. They prevented the loss of 60,000,000 gallons of wastewater from leaking through failed traps.

Interactive is more than just focused on the industrial space. Consumer electronics, especially wearables, are often mentioned when discussing the IoT. Ever active is very interested in this area. They are also looking into logistics. Everactive is looking to add localization technology to its next generation of sensors to enable asset tracking anywhere in the world. This technology can be applied to a wide range of industries and applications. Wentzloff says that they are excited about the future.

Businesses are reviewing how they function and what they do in the face of the coronavirus epidemic. Everactive’s clients have been building essential products for the economy, and their workforce has decreased. Understanding what’s happening in these areas makes it even more crucial.

Everactive is determined to fill that gap and play an integral role in developing self-powered solutions for ubiquitous remote monitoring. Calhoun says, “At Interactive, we believe in a world where all of our environments are monitored and smart, capable of providing information to the computing system to make our world safer, more efficient, and just plain better for our way of living.” “We want to be part of that, and our batteryless solution seems like the best way forward.

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