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.

Find out more
View All Articles

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Comic
Ransomware’s Great Lessons

Ransomware’s Great Lessons

Ransomware The vision is chilling. It’s another busy day. An employee arrives and logs on to the network only to be confronted by a locked screen displaying a simple message: “Your files have been captured and encrypted. To release them, you must pay.” Ransomware has grown recently to become one of the primary threats to…

InformationWeek Reveals Top 125 Vendors Taking the Technology Industry by Storm

InformationWeek Reveals Top 125 Vendors Taking the Technology Industry by Storm

InformationWeek Reveals Top 125 Vendors Five-part series details companies to watch across five essential technology sectors SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — InformationWeek released its list of “125 Vendors to Watch” in 2017. Selected by InformationWeek’s expert editorial team, the companies listed fall into one of five key themes: infrastructure, security, cloud, data management and…

Part 1 – Connected Vehicles: Paving The Way For IoT On Wheels

Part 1 – Connected Vehicles: Paving The Way For IoT On Wheels

Connected Vehicles From cars to combines, the IoT market potential of connected vehicles is so expansive that it will even eclipse that of the mobile phone. Connected personal vehicles will be the final link in a fully connected IoT ecosystem. This is an incredibly important moment to capitalize on given how much time people spend…

Embedded Sensors and the Wearable Personal Cloud

Embedded Sensors and the Wearable Personal Cloud

The Wearable Personal Cloud Wearable tech is one avenue of technology that’s encouraging cloud connections and getting us all onto interconnected networks, and with the continued miniaturization and advancement of computing the types of wearable tech are always expanding and providing us with new opportunities. A few years ago, smartwatches were rather clunky devices with…

SWIFT Says Bank Hacks Set To Increase

SWIFT Says Bank Hacks Set To Increase

Bank Hacks Set To Increase SWIFT, whose messaging network is used by banks to send payment instructions worth trillions of dollars each day, said three clients were hacked over the summer and cyber attacks on banks are set to increase. The theft of $81 million in February from Bangladesh’s central bank using SWIFT messages rocked…

The Cancer Moonshot: Collaboration Is Key

The Cancer Moonshot: Collaboration Is Key

Cancer Moonshot In his final State of the Union address in January 2016, President Obama announced a new American “moonshot” effort: finding a cure for cancer. The term “moonshot” comes from one of America’s greatest achievements, the moon landing. If the scientific community can achieve that kind of feat, then surely it can rally around…

Digital Transformation: Not Just For Large Enterprises Anymore

Digital Transformation: Not Just For Large Enterprises Anymore

Digital Transformation Digital transformation is the acceleration of business activities, processes, and operational models to fully embrace the changes and opportunities of digital technologies. The concept is not new; we’ve been talking about it in one way or another for decades: paperless office, BYOD, user experience, consumerization of IT – all of these were stepping…

Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy A few weeks ago I visited the global headquarters of a large multi-national company to discuss cloud strategy with the CIO. I arrived 30 minutes early and took a tour of the area where the marketing team showcased their award winning brands. I was impressed by the digital marketing strategy…

Cloud Services Providers – Learning To Keep The Lights On

Cloud Services Providers – Learning To Keep The Lights On

The True Meaning of Availability What is real availability? In our line of work, cloud service providers approach availability from the inside out. And in many cases, some never make it past their own front door given how challenging it is to keep the lights on at home let alone factors that are out of…

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

The Catch 22 The very same year Marc Andreessen famously said that software was eating the world, the Chief Information Officer of the United States was announcing a major Cloud First goal. That was 2011. Five years later, as both the private and public sectors continue to adopt cloud-based software services, we’re interested in this…

Who’s Who In The Booming World Of Data Science

Who’s Who In The Booming World Of Data Science

The World of Data Science The nature of work and business in today’s super-connected world means that every second of every day, the world produces an astonishing amount of data. Consider some of these statistics; every minute, Facebook users share nearly 2.5 million pieces of content, YouTube users upload over 72 hours of content, Apple…

Big Data and Financial Services – Security Threat or Massive Opportunity?

Big Data and Financial Services – Security Threat or Massive Opportunity?

Big Data and Financial Services Cloud Banking Insights Series focuses on big data in the financial services industry and whether it is a security threat or actually a massive opportunity. How does big data fit into an overall cloud strategy? Most FI’s have a positive mind-set towards cloud IT consumption as it not only enables…

Containerization: The Bold Face Of The Cloud In 2016

Containerization: The Bold Face Of The Cloud In 2016

Containerization And The Cloud “Right now, the biggest technology shift in the cloud is a rapid evolution from simple virtual machine (VM) hosting toward containerization’’ says the CTO of Microsoft Azure, Mark Russinovitch, a man who deals with the evolving cloud infrastructure every day. In his words, containerization is “an incredibly efficient, portable, and lightweight…

Cloud Infographic – Big Data Predictions By 2023

Cloud Infographic – Big Data Predictions By 2023

Big Data Predictions By 2023 Everything we do online from social networking to e-commerce purchases, chatting, and even simple browsing yields tons of data that certain organizations collect and poll together with other partner organizations. The results are massive volumes of data, hence the name “Big Data”. This includes personal and behavioral profiles that are stored, managed, and…

New Report Finds 1 Out Of 3 Sites Are Vulnerable To Malware

New Report Finds 1 Out Of 3 Sites Are Vulnerable To Malware

1 Out Of 3 Sites Are Vulnerable To Malware A new report published this morning by Menlo Security has alarmingly suggested that at least a third of the top 1,000,000 websites in the world are at risk of being infected by malware. While it’s worth prefacing the findings with the fact Menlo used Alexa to…

Disaster Recovery And The Cloud

Disaster Recovery And The Cloud

Disaster Recovery And The Cloud One of the least considered benefits of cloud computing in the average small or mid-sized business manager’s mind is the aspect of disaster recovery. Part of the reason for this is that so few small and mid-size businesses have ever contemplated the impact of a major disaster on their IT…