No Power Wi-Fi And How It Could Fuel The Internet Of Things
Good news: Researchers funded in part by the UW Commercialization Gap Fund have discovered a way to transmit wireless signals with absolutely no external power source whatsoever. This will no doubt lead to tremendous leaps in the development of technology related to the Internet of Things.
Bad news: It can only send a signal two meters at a rate of 1kb per second. At that rate, it would literally take about a year to stream a couple seasons of Mad Men. Simple yes/no data can be streamed quite easily with the technology as it stands, but anything more complex than switching on a light from a cross the room may be tricky.
The way that no-power Wi-Fi works is really inventive. Devices enabled to use no-power Wi-Fi do not generate their own signal, rather, they reflect the signals coming from other Wi-Fi devices. Hitchhikers often write their destination on styrofoam plates which reflect sunlight better than cardboard, working about as well as a neon sign, but without the need for a power source. No-power Wi-Fi works in a similar manner.
It’s no exaggeration to say that this is what will lead to the next big leap in IoT technology, taking something that is typically expensive and unwieldy and making it light, accessible, and most of all, cheap.
We’re already seeing these changes in the world of cloud computing, we’ve been able to eliminate much hardware in favor of computing in the cloud. As that continues to be implemented in the future, and new connected devices are brought to market, we’ll see greater connectivity in the business world as a whole.