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This Chip Gets Power Straight from the Air so It Never Needs to be Charged


This Chip Gets Power Straight from the Air so It Never Needs to be Charged

The world’s smallest temp sensor chip has been created by researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. This chip gets power straight from the air so it never needs to be charged ever again. It pulls power from radio waves that are being broadcast by the very same wireless network it helps it communicate.

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This is a major breakthrough for the Internet of Things and the tech industry.

Project PREMISS is headed by researcher Doctor Hao Gao. This huge leap forward will play an immense role in the future of consumer electronics. The tiny sensor doesn’t weigh more than a particle of dirt, and it measures just 2 mm square, thus making it the tinniest temp sensor in the world.

Not having an on-board battery alleviates some weight issues, and because PREMISS doesn’t need to connect to any external power source – physical, mind you; it quickly becomes a keeper.

A post on the official Eindhoven University of Technology blog details that the small sensor has an antenna, which it uses to grab energy from the router. Afterwards, it stocks the energy and immediately as it has enough to power up, it switches itself on. Once plugged in, it starts to measure the temperature and send a data signal to the router.

That signal is on a slightly different frequency – it varies on what temperature it has measured. The router’s job is to analyse the data and display the precise temperature from the specified frequency.

However, it’s not ready for the spotlight – just yet. The first iteration of the PREMISS ins’t apt for consumer use. It can only deliver the data signal across a distance of just about an inch. Quite useless in the real world. Researchers are working on improving distance so it has uses in a situation where range is of the essence.

Gao notes that a variant that is able to transmit data over more than one meter will be available at the end of 2016, which is more than reasonable. He adds that the chip, in its current state, can be improved to send the signal across a distance of more than 4.5 meters. Now we’re talking money.

The chip has implications in other markets, not only in measuring temperatures. Gao believes that the technology that makes the chip capable of working without the need to be charged can be used to develop others that can measure humidity, light, movement and more.

Furthermore, stepping into an Asimovian tale, Peter Baltus, who is a professor at the Eindhoven University of Technology, says that this kind of technology can lead to a bundle of network sensors that can be plastered onto walls.

Just imagine how an inside of a building would look like with all that latex painted everywhere.

Do we really want a chip that can tell everything, and I know I’m going all paranoid over here, but doesn’t this enable, let’s say, the NSA to spy on people easier?

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About Sergio Wallache

sergio@thenextdigit.com'
The young-turk of the team, he is responsible for reporting all the rumors and leaks related to gadgets and software. Other than collecting valuable information on trending rumors, he also likes to write about social media and IT security.

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