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Wi-Fi Power

June 17, 2015

New microelectronic devices may get their energy through Wi-Fi signals.



Clive Darra flickr Wi-Fi hotspot CC BY-SA 2.0

(Clive Darra/Creative Commons License BY-SA 2.0, via flickr)

Pulling electricity out of thin air. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The “Internet of Things” is a term describing a network of electronic sensing, processing and communicating devices that are everywhere: in clothes that monitor when they need washing, temporary tattoos that check your blood sugar—even food that knows when its gone bad. But all those electronics need power. At the University of Washington, electrical engineer Vamsi Talla is part of a team developing PoWiFi—power delivered through Wi-Fi signals.

Vamsi Talla (University of Washington):

We have Wi-Fi all around us, at our homes, at our office, every one of us uses Wi-Fi.


He and his colleagues recently demonstrated tiny low-power sensors that receive their power from a Wi-Fi router, without degrading internet speeds. They say this ability to harvest energy over the air could go a long way towards energizing the Internet of Things. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.