Anyone familiar with Nikola Tesla’s dreams about wireless energy and communication understands that we are nowhere close to being where he envisioned we’d be in 2016, but humanity has to start somewhere….
A team of researchers at the University of Washington have developed a new technology called ambient Wi-Fi backscatter that fulfills Tesla’s dream of wireless energy signal transmittal on a small scale – even though Tesla’s ambitions were much larger and wider in scope than ambient backscatter.
Devices such as this use existing radio frequency signals (radio, television, digital telephony, wi-fi, bluetooth, etc.) to transmit data without a battery or power grid connection with an antenna that picks up an existing signal and converts it into tens to hundreds of microwatts of electricity. It then uses that power to modify and reflect the signal with encoded data.
This approach would let mobile and other devices communicate without being turned on. It would also allow unpowered sensors to communicate, allowing them to be placed in places where external power cannot be conveniently supplied.