A new era in wearable technology is on the horizon with soon to be release products such as Google Glass and Samsungs Galaxy Gear Smart Watch. In addition to these, it seems most major technology players are developing some form of wearable technology to go along with our already existing mobile devices. But the question out there now is how to power these items. Obviously a Smart Watch that only lasts 7-10 hours on a battery might not be very appealing.
But researchers at the University of Washington think they may have a solution in a new wireless technology they describe as Ambient Backscatter. Here’s how their website explains the concept further, “it transforms existing wireless signals into both a source of power and a communication medium. It enables two battery-free devices to communicate by backscattering existing wireless signals. Backscatter communication is orders of magnitude more power-efficient than traditional radio communication. Further, since it leverages the ambient RF signals that are already around us, it does not require a dedicated power infrastructure as in RFID.”
Basically, devices communicate with each other on a network formed ‘out of thin air’. By leveraging signals that already exist all around us, devices will absorb or reflect frequencies that will allow them to communicate with each other without a battery. And since there is no battery, the devices could literally last forever. The technology handles the problem of power and communication in one fell swoop.
Here is a video that further explains the technology: