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­w Researchers Demonstrate System to Transmit Power Over Wi-Fi

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A team of University of Washington researchers says the new Power over WiFi technology will play a pivotal role in the Internet of Things.

A team of University of Washington researchers has demonstrated the first sensors and camera to be powered solely by WiFi signals.

Credit: University of Washington

Wi-Fi can power connected devices using a new system developed by a team at the University of Washington (UW). Called Power Over Wi-Fi (PoWiFi), the system can charge low-power devices up to 28 feet away.

UW graduate student Vamsi Talla and colleagues say the system does not interfere with the Internet connection.

PoWiFi makes use of a Wi-Fi router with special software. The system also has a hardware component that consists of sensors, including camera and temperature sensors and coin-cell batteries, built specifically for powering low-power devices.

"On the router side, it's essentially software," Talla says. "We have to harvest the signals, so we have built custom sensors we want to wirelessly power."

The team tested the system in six homes, which uncovered issues involving leakage and the range of the camera and temperature sensors. UW professor Joshua Smith says the possibilities of greater range could be investigated with the addition of an amplifier.

Still, the researchers believe the system is ready for initial applications, and note the technology has the ability to scale. "If we can get better ranges, the possibilities are limitless, " Talla says.

From The Daily of the University of Washington
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