Ant-sized radios for IoT are EM powered

EDN Staff -September 10, 2014

Engineers at Stanford University in collaboration with researchers from the University of California, Berkeley have built a tiny radio-on-a-chip that costs pennies to make and is powered by the same electromagnetic waves that carry incoming signals to its receiving antenna. The ant-sized, battery-less device is designed to be an enabler for the much-talked-about Internet of Things (IoT) by offering a wireless controller inexpensive enough to be installed on anything, anywhere.

Designed during a three-year effort that involved rethinking radio technology "from scratch," the device includes an antenna that is one-tenth the size of a Wi-Fi antenna and that operates at 24 billion cycles per second. Power reduction was achieved to a level where an AAA battery could power the device for more than a century.

An ant-sized radio-on-a-chip designed by engineers at Stanford University costs pennies to make and derives power from incoming EM waves.

STMicroelectronics produced 100 prototypes of the radio chip, which were used in testing to prove the device works. The designers envision networks of these chips placed approximately every meter throughout a house to provide connectivity and control between the Internet and smart household devices (see video (2:05)).

For more, see the designers' IoT Radio website. Also see "Stanford engineer aims to connect the world with ant-sized radios."

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