Wi-Fi Powered Internet Gadgets

Wi-Fi Powered Internet Gadgets

By Shinji Tutoru

UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON, WA, USA. In the near future, even the smallest internet-connected device will no longer need a battery or even a power cord to make it work. A newly-developed technology will soon be available for commercialization. This new technology will allow electronic gadgets to work and even connect using energy coming from a nearby cellular phone, a radio, a TV set or even Wi-Fi signals around.

A group of researchers from the University of Washington developed the technique. Although wirelessly transferring power is not a new technique, it is harder to get a device to connect and work without a conventional power source. The airwaves coming from a radio, TV, and other telecommunication devices hold little energy. At the same time, generating radio signals is very power-intensive which makes it even more complicated.

Shyamnath Gollakota and Joshua Smith from the University of Washington proved that weak radio signals are enough to power and make internet-connected devices work through backscattering. This process involves one of the devices used to selectively reflect incoming radio waves in order to create a new signal instead of generating original signals. The gadget being used for the technique absorbs some energy from the signal it creates to power its own circuits. “We can get communication for free,” says Gollakota.

Another example where the backscattering technique is being used is with the RFID for contactless smart cards that are being used in modern mass transit. Another version from the same developers is called passive Wi-Fi. Passive Wi-Fi allows electronic gadgets to connect with conventional devices such as computers and smartphones by backscattering Wi-Fi signals even without a battery.

The researchers believe that tiny passive Wi-Fi devices could be very cheap to make, even maybe for less than a dollar. With this technology, we could all be looking at a future where changing batteries won’t ever be a problem again.

Invention Internet Gadgets Powered Through Wi-Fi
Organization University of Washington
Researcher Shyamnath Gollakota, Joshua Smith & Team
Field(s) Wi-Fi, wireless power, telecommunications, radio signals, connected devices
Further Information https://www.technologyreview.com/s/600773/power-from-the-air/

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

Learn more about PreScouter at www.prescouter.com.

Never miss an insight

Get insights delivered right to your inbox

More of Our Insights & Work
Popup Builder Mailchimp extension requires authentication.