WiFi Backscatter: The Internet of Things Could Talk by Turning Reflective

By Mark Anderson

Researchers may have solved a key problem underlying the emerging “Internet of Things” (IoT): How can these “Things” talk back to their networks? The answer could be by reflecting the ambient signals from conventional Wi-Fi routers.

Forecasts about the Internet of Things—the idea that cars, appliances, clothes, and other devices will all soon be wired in to the ‘Net—mean little if IoT devices still require batteries or plugged-in power supplies to operate. Smartphones and laptops fully occupy many households’ power outlets, having already laid claim with their charging stations and the requisite tangled scads of plugs, cord,s and connectors. Charging or changing batteries on many more devices around the home or workplace would, for most consumers, present too much bother for too little return. ….[Read more]