Touch Anything And Everything

Powering IoT devices is often a question of batteries or mains power, but in rare exceptions to this rule there is no power supply (PDF Warning). At the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of California, San Diego, researchers have gone the extra mile to make advanced backscatter devices, and these new tags don’t need the discrete components we have seen in previous versions. They are calling it LiveTag, and it doesn’t need anything aside from a layer of foil printed or etched on a flexible ceramic-PTFE laminate. PTFE is mostly seen in the RF sector as a substrate for circuit boards.

We have seen some of the wild creations with wifi backscatter that range from dials to pushbuttons. RF backscatter works by modulating the RF signals in which we are continuously swimming. Those radio waves power the device and disrupt the ambient signals, which disruption can be detected by a receiver. With a BOM that looks like a statement more than a list, integration with many devices becomes a cost-effective reality. Do not however broadcast important data because you cannot expect great security from backscatter.

[Via IEEE Spectrum]

10 thoughts on “Touch Anything And Everything

  1. “Powering IoT devices is often a question of batteries or mains power, but in rare exceptions to this rule there is no power supply”

    Perpetual energy powered.

    ‘Ambient backscatter uses existing radio frequency signals, such as radio, television and mobile telephony, to transmit data without a battery or power grid connection. Each such device uses an antenna to pick up an existing signal and convert it into tens to hundreds of microwatts of electricity.[1] It uses that power to modify and reflect the signal with encoded data. Antennas on other devices, in turn, detect that signal and can respond accordingly.”

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