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Battery-free Devices Float on the Wind like Dandelion Seeds

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This battery-free device uses solar panels (black rectangles shown here) to power its onboard electronics.

Credit: Mark Stone/University of Washington

University of Washington (UW) researchers have developed a tiny battery-free device that can be blown by wind currents, like dandelion seeds.

The sensor-conveying devices can travel up to 100 meters (roughly 328 feet).

Once they land, solar panels power their electronics, which can share sensor data wirelessly up to 60 meters (196 feet) away via backscattering.

The devices feature bristles that bend inward, while a ring structure adds stiffness and slows their descent.

"Our prototype suggests that you could use a drone to release thousands of these devices in a single drop," said UW's Shyam Gollakota.

"They'll all be carried by the wind a little differently, and basically you can create a 1,000-device network with this one drop."

From University of Washington News
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