Power over Wi-Fi: The end of IoT-sensor batteries?

Harnessing energy inherent in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth radio waves to power remote, wireless, Internet of Things (IoT) sensors — and also communicate with the devices at the same time — is a big-ticket item on IoT want-lists. Advantages include no batteries, thus reducing costs, size and weight.

The key to achieving it functionally, some scientists say, is in converting AC waveforms to DC voltage, combined with the use of new materials. Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, along with some collaborators, say they’ve made a breakthrough in this area. Interestingly, it also includes scaling potential…

The researchers also say the non-rigid, battery-free system is better than others’ attempts at rectennas because they capture “daily” signals such as “Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular LTE, and many others,” says Xu Zhang, of collaborator Carnegie Mellon University, in the article. The other Radio Frequency-to-power converters, which are thick and non-flexible, aren’t wideband enough, the groups say.