One of the main problems that we are facing in the development of IoT devices is the need to insert radio devices for the transmission of data collected from internal sensors. Radios however require a fair amount of energy to operate and it is not always easy to find space to accommodate adequate batteries, sometimes limiting their functionality.
The solution to this problem might come from Disney Research that, during IEEE Infocom 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia, presented an interesting solution that exploits the environmental radio waves normally present in the environments in which we live. Small solar cells have been sufficient, optimized to operate in low light conditions, to power sensors and allow them to forward data through environmental radio waves.
These may be those from FM radio transmissions, TV signals or data transmission from mobile phones. Thanks to a receiver capable of capturing any radio signal indiscriminately, it was possible to reconstruct the data from the various sensors at a distance of more than 20 meters, rising to 50 meters in the case of environmental signals from uplink traffic Generated by smartphones.
The principle of operation is that of RFID tags, but they work only at very close distances and make this solution impractical for IoT devices. The Disney Research solution could therefore represent a significant turning point for the development of IoT technology that promises to bring billions of new sensors into our lives. The absence of new radio transmitters can only be good, given the amount of radio waves that already fill the ether.
For more detailed information, please visit the official Disney Project project’s official page, accessible at this address.