Engineers at the University of Washington developed a communication system that uses RF signals to power battery-free wireless devices through existing Wi-Fi infrastructures. This new system could propel the future of Internet of Things.
The engineers took the concept of ambient backscatter one step further by connecting individual devices to the Internet by harnessing energy from wireless signals. The team developed an ultra-low power tag prototype that can communicate with Wi-Fi enable laptops while using small amounts of power. The tags work by searching for signals between a router and a mobile device to encode data that slightly changes the wireless signal. The engineers tested their Wi-Fi backscatter tag using a Wi-Fi device at one kilobit per second with a distance of two meters between devices.