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No matter how smart and fast your devices would be, the biggest issue is always with the battery technology.
Whenever you go to buy any electronic gadget — smartphone, laptop, or any wearable — the most important specification isn’t its processor speed or its camera quality but its Battery Backup, which is not getting better any time soon.
What if you could eliminate the very thing entirely?
Well, that’s exactly what the electrical engineers from the University of Washington has developed.
A team of researchers from the University of Washington’s Sensor Lab and the Delft University of Technology has developed a new gadget that doesn’t need a battery or any external power source to keep it powered; rather it works on radio waves.
So, this means you have to turn on your radio every time to keep this device charged. Right?
No, you don’t need to do this at all, because the device sucks radio waves out of the air and then converts them into electricity.
Wireless Identification and Sensing Platform
Dubbed Wireless Identification and Sensing Platform (WISP), the device is a combination sensor and computing chip that uses a standard off-the-shelf RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) reader to suck in radio waves and convert them into electricity.
Though the WISP is not designed to compete with the chips in your computer or even your smartphone, it has as much processing power as the Fitbit, which is enough to run sensors and transmit data.
The discovery could highly transform the Internet of Things (IoT) world as the WISP is even more low maintenance compared to Bluetooth Low Energy sensor chips being used today.
The next step in making the WISP usability even more convenient and easy is to create Wisent that would allow for wireless programming of the WISP. For this, the team has recently collaborated with the Delft University of Technology.
With the help of Wisent, the WISP can be programmed wirelessly and uses the very same radio waves to communicate.
“So far WISP required cables to reprogramme it, nullifying the advantage of battery-less-ness. Therefore, we present Wisent, a protocol that allows WISP to be reprogrammed wirelessly,” said Przemysław Pawełczak, assistant professor at the TU Delft’s Embedded Software group.
“Our vision is to have truly wirelessly reprogrammable software-defined battery-less computers wherever and whenever we want.”
For more details, you can head on to the research paper [PDF].
Though the ultimate aim of WISP is in fully realizing the Internet of Things and giving “dumb” objects some smartness, it might even find its way into smartphones as a sort of emergency backup calling module that works even when your phone’s battery is dead.
However, there is no detail on when the WISP will be made available for purchase, or how much it will cost.