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Battery-Free IoT Computing Platform Draws Energy from Air

Several years ago, we told you about how researchers at the University of Washington had developed wireless devices that are powered and communicate solely by harvesting signals from existing television and cellular transmissions in the air. At the time, the technology had interesting implications for sensors, ultra-low-power devices, and other technologies that have since formed the basis for the Internet of Things (IoT).

Fast forward three years and now the research out of UW — in conjunction with researchers at Delft University of Technology — has expanded into the development of the Wireless Identification and Sensing Platform (WISP), a mini sensor-based computing platform that can be programmed to create IoT applications.

Electrical engineers from University of Washington's Sensor Systems Laboratory and Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) have developed a programmable sensing platform that harvests energy from radio waves for electricity rather than uses a battery.  (Source: University of Washington)

Electrical engineers from University of Washington’s Sensor Systems Laboratory and Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) have developed a programmable sensing platform that harvests energy from radio waves for electricity rather than uses a battery.

“It incorporates sensing, computing, and communication, much like many wearables and IoT devices,” Aaron Parks, an electrical engineering student at UW, told Design News .

WISP’s sensors are powered and read by UHF RFID readers, harvesting power from the RF signal generated by the reader. The platform is an open source, open architecture EPC Class 1 Generation 2 RFID tag that includes a fully programmable 16-bit microcontroller as well as arbitrary sensors, according to information on the website of the UW’s Sensor Systems Laboratory, which is leading the research.

To read the rest of this article, visit EBN sister site Design News.

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