Battery-Free Mobile Devices Draw Power from Ambient Backscatter

University of Washington researchers recently presented a paper at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Data Communication 2013 conference in Hong Kong that explains how they have developed a way to communicate wirelessly without obtaining power from a battery or power outlet.

The technique dubbed “ambient backscatter” is a form of power harvesting that takes existing RF waves and turns them into a power source and medium for communication. The technique works by reflecting the signals to exchange information and avoids the inconvenience of maintaining batteries and a dedicated power infrastructure to run other types of low-power communication.

This new technology could lead to new offerings in wearable computing, ubiquitous sensors and self-powered surveillance devices.

Read the full paper “Ambient Backscatter: Wireless Communications Out of Thin Air” written by Vincent Liu, Aaron Parks, Vamsi Talla, Shyamnath Gollakota, David Wetherall and Joshua R. Smith.