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University of Michigan Innovation Partnerships
University of Michigan Innovation Partnerships

PsiKick rolls out batteryless IoT sensor tech for steam traps, delivering cost-saving insights across a range of industrial environments


PsiKick Steam Trap Monitor Enables Real-Time Alerts for Quick Intervention to Avoid Costs of Wasted Energy and Downtime; PsiKick’s Complete System Spans Sensing Hardware to Cloud Analytics

SANTA CLARA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–PsiKick, Inc., a venture-backed startup pioneering batteryless IoT systems, today announced its Steam Trap Monitor (STM), which is designed to continuously analyze steam traps to deliver cost-saving insights across a range of industrial environments.

“Considering even 3-year battery lifetimes of wireless sensors, if the IoT industry hits a conservative total of 20 billion sensors, that would require 18 million battery replacements per day. Few organizations have the labor or capital to maintain such systems.”

Steam Traps Prone to Costly Failure

Steam traps, which are designed to discharge unwanted condensate, are critical components in the vast steam systems utilized worldwide for manufacturing, power-generation, heating, sterilization, and other processes. Despite their prevalence, steam traps are notoriously faulty; according to the U.S. Department of Energy, unmaintained traps show failure rates of 3-5 years.

“Poorly monitored steam traps result in billions of dollars of wasted energy annually across a large array of industries. Unless a company expends significant resources to maintain a rigorous inspection schedule, undetected blow-thru traps are the equivalent of leaving your doors and windows open with the AC on. Even worse, cold steam trap failures can result in expensive downtime and dangerous safety hazards,” said Bob Nunn, President and CEO of PsiKick. “The PsiKick Steam Trap Monitor provides a cost-effective solution to continuously monitor steam traps and receive real-time status of failures, or alerts about the possibility of a near-term failure, enabling quick intervention and providing immediate operating cost savings.”

Technical Breakthroughs Lead to Batteryless Monitoring

Leveraging its groundbreaking semiconductor design technology developed by researchers at both the University of Michigan and the University of Virginia, PsiKick’s mission is to solve the battery problem with a suite of maintenance-free, self-powered sensing systems. As the company’s co-founder and co-CTO, Dr. David Wentzloff, explains: “Considering even 3-year battery lifetimes of wireless sensors, if the IoT industry hits a conservative total of 20 billion sensors, that would require 18 million battery replacements per day. Few organizations have the labor or capital to maintain such systems.”

The Full-Stack STM System

The STM system consists of PsiKick’s proprietary sensors, called “Smart Sense Nodes” (or S2Ns), that are powered exclusively from harvested energy from heat or indoor light, therefore eliminating the need for a battery. No batteries means no maintenance costs over the S2N’s lifetime, which is guaranteed to exceed 20 years. S2Ns—one per steam trap— transmit data upon request using PsiKick’s proprietary low-power Psi-Fi® protocol to “Control Nodes” gateways that provide multiple backhaul options.

PK Cloud Features

The PK Cloud features a proprietary algorithm that analyzes the continuous sensor data for key insights, such as steam trap failure states and the costs associated with those failures. The PK Cloud includes an easy-to-use interface that allows for straightforward configuration and provisioning, displays real-time dashboard data, and generates failure notifications and alerts.

Said the company’s other co-founder and co-CTO, Dr. Ben Calhoun: “The data provided by the system goes beyond reporting failures to providing insights for preventative management. That being said, the savings from reductions in wasted steam alone provide a compelling ROI for our customers.”

Additional Product Specifications

The first-generation Smart Sense Nodes can communicate roughly 100 feet in crowded industrial settings. The company is planning a next-generation S2N with a range of 900 feet, easily covering a factory floor. This extension will be based on improvements to PsiKick’s silicon, which is designed in-house by its team of circuit designers.

The STM features reliable and wide temperature ranges for outdoor and indoor applications, up to 392° F. PsiKick devices are also IP66-rated for protection against dust and water and Class I, Division 2 rated for deployment in hazardous locations.


The PsiKick Steam Trap Monitor has been in customer trials for six months and is now released for production deployments. The system is sold to customers with no upfront cost, but rather an annual per-trap service fee. For more information on purchasing a system, email

The STM is the first solution in the PsiKick ESP line of completely self-powered, batteryless systems designed to deliver real-time insight through the collection, communication, and analysis of sensed data. The company is currently deployed with customers across a number of industries. For more information, visit

About PsiKick

PsiKick, Inc., is a venture-backed startup pioneering wireless, batteryless sensing systems. PsiKick’s systems utilize revolutionary ultra-low-power technologies refined over more than a decade of academic and commercial research. Its ever-growing team of engineers is comprised of both doctorates and industry-veteran technologists specializing in device design, wireless networking, industrial IoT, cloud platforms, and data analytics. The same technology foundation is being adapted to provide real-time insight into other infrastructure, including motors and vibrating machinery. PsiKick’s investors include New Enterprise Associates, Osage University Partners and the Michigan Investment in New Technology Start-Ups Fund (MINTS). The Company has locations in Santa Clara, CA, Charlottesville, VA and Ann Arbor, MI. For more information, visit