Powering The Internet Of Things

Powering The Internet Of Things

Powering The Internet Of Things

The Internet of Things is designed on the premise that sensors can be embedded in everyday object to help monitor and track them. The scope of this is huge – for example, the sensors could monitor and track everything from the structural integrity of bridges and buildings to the health of your heart. Unfortunately, one of the biggest stumbling blocks to widespread adoption at the moment is finding a way to cheaply and easily power these devices and thus enable them to connect to the internet.

Luckily, engineers at the University of Washington have a potential solution. They have designed a new system which uses radio frequency signals as a power source and reuses existing WiFi infrastructure to provide the connectivity. The technology is called WiFi Backscatter and is believed to be the first of its kind.

Building on previous research showed how low-powered devices could run without batteries or cords by obtaining their power from radio, TV and wireless signals, the new design goes further by connecting the individual devices to the internet. Previously it wasn’t possible, the difficulty in providing WiFi connectivity was that traditional, low-power WiFi consumes significantly more power than can be gained from the wireless signals. This has been solved by developing a ultra-low power tag prototype which has the required antenna and circuitry to talk to laptops and smartphones.

“If Internet of Things devices are going to take off, we must provide connectivity to the potentially billions of battery-free devices that will be embedded in everyday objects”, said Shyam Gollakota, one of University of Washington’s Professor in the Computer Science and Engineering department. “We now have the ability to enable WiFi connectivity for devices while consuming orders of magnitude less power than what WiFi typically requires”.

The tags on the new ultra low-power prototype work by scanning for WiFi signals that are moving between the router and the laptop or smartphone. Data is encoded by either reflecting or not reflecting the WiFi router signal – thus slightly changing the signal itself. It means that WiFi enabled devices would detect the miniscule changes and thus receive data from the tag.

“You might think, how could this possibly work when you have a low-power device making such a tiny change in the wireless signal? But the point is, if you’re looking for specific patterns, you can find it among all the other Wi-Fi reflections in an environment”, said Joshua Smith, another University of Washington professor who works in the same department as Gollakota.

The technology has currently communicated with a WiFi device at a rate of 1 kilobit per second with two metres between the devices, though the range will soon be expanded to twenty metres. Patents have been filed.

By Daniel Price

About Daniel Price

Daniel is a Manchester-born UK native who has abandoned cold and wet Northern Europe and currently lives on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. A former Financial Consultant, he now balances his time between writing articles for several industry-leading tech (CloudTweaks.com & MakeUseOf.com), sports, and travel sites and looking after his three dogs.

View Website
View All Articles

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Cloud Native Trends Picking Up – Legacy Security Losing Ground

Cloud Native Trends Picking Up – Legacy Security Losing Ground

Cloud Native Trends Once upon a time, only a select few companies like Google and Salesforce possessed the knowledge and expertise to operate efficient cloud infrastructure and applications. Organizations patronizing those companies benefitted with apps that offered new benefits in flexibility, scalability and cost effectiveness. These days, the sharp division between cloud and on-premises infrastructure…

Using Private Cloud Architecture For Multi-Tier Applications

Using Private Cloud Architecture For Multi-Tier Applications

Cloud Architecture These days, Multi-Tier Applications are the norm. From SharePoint’s front-end/back-end configuration, to LAMP-based websites using multiple servers to handle different functions, a multitude of apps require public and private-facing components to work in tandem. Placing these apps in entirely public-facing platforms and networks simplifies the process, but at the cost of security vulnerabilities. Locating everything…

The Rise Of BI Data And How To Use It Effectively

The Rise Of BI Data And How To Use It Effectively

The Rise of BI Data Every few years, a new concept or technological development is introduced that drastically improves the business world as a whole. In 1983, the first commercially handheld mobile phone debuted and provided workers with an unprecedented amount of availability, leading to more productivity and profits. More recently, the Cloud has taken…

Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

Education Tech and the Cloud Arguably one of society’s most important functions, teaching can still seem antiquated at times. Many schools still function similarly to how they did five or 10 years ago, which is surprising considering the amount of technical innovation we’ve seen in the past decade. Education is an industry ripe for innovation…

Moving Your Email To The Cloud? Beware Of Unintentional Data Spoliation!

Moving Your Email To The Cloud? Beware Of Unintentional Data Spoliation!

Cloud Email Migration In today’s litigious society, preserving your company’s data is a must if you (and your legal team) want to avoid hefty fines for data spoliation. But what about when you move to the cloud? Of course, you’ve probably thought of this already. You’ll have a migration strategy in place and you’ll carefully…

Three Challenges of Network Deployment in Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Private Cloud

Three Challenges of Network Deployment in Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Private Cloud

Hyperconverged Infrastructure In this article, we’ll explore three challenges that are associated with network deployment in a hyperconverged private cloud environment, and then we’ll consider several methods to overcome those challenges. The Main Challenge: Bring Your Own (Physical) Network Some of the main challenges of deploying a hyperconverged infrastructure software solution in a data center are the diverse physical…

Data Breaches: Incident Response Planning – Part 1

Data Breaches: Incident Response Planning – Part 1

Incident Response Planning – Part 1 The topic of cybersecurity has become part of the boardroom agendas in the last couple of years, and not surprisingly — these days, it’s almost impossible to read news headlines without noticing yet another story about a data breach. As cybersecurity shifts from being a strictly IT issue to…

Protecting Devices From Data Breach: Identity of Things (IDoT)

Protecting Devices From Data Breach: Identity of Things (IDoT)

How to Identify and Authenticate in the Expanding IoT Ecosystem It is a necessity to protect IoT devices and their associated data. As the IoT ecosystem continues to expand, the need to create an identity to newly-connected things is becoming increasingly crucial. These ‘things’ can include anything from basic sensors and gateways to industrial controls…