Energy harvesting sensor systems typically incorporate energy buffers (e.g., rechargeable batteries and supercapacitors) to accommodate fluctuations in supply. However, the presence of these elements limits the miniaturization of devices. In recent years, researchers have proposed a new paradigm, transient computing, where systems operate directly from the energy harvesting source and allow computation to span across power cycles, without adding energy buffers. Various transient computing approaches have addressed the challenge of power intermittency by retaining the processor’s state using non-volatile memory. However, no generic approach has yet been proposed to retain the state of peripherals external to the processing element. This paper proposes RESTOP, flexible middleware which retains the state of multiple external peripherals that are connected to a computing element (i.e., a microcontroller) through protocols such as SPI or I
C. RESTOP acts as an interface between the main application and the peripheral, which keeps a record, at run-time, of the transmitted data in order to restore peripheral configuration after a power interruption. RESTOP is practically implemented and validated using three digitally interfaced peripherals, successfully restoring their configuration after power interruptions, imposing a maximum time overhead of 15% when configuring a peripheral. However, this represents an overhead of only 0.82% during complete execution of our typical sensing application, which is substantially lower than existing approaches.
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