Ultra Low-Power WiFi Reflector Link For Next Generation Embedded and Wearable Devices
While the advancing wearable devices market promises us a
connectivity revolution in devices throughout our lives,
conventional WiFi technology requires every device to carry a
transmitter, a prospect which simply consumes too much power for a
wearable or battery-free device to support.
UCLA researchers in collaboration with JPL have developed a WiFi reflector link over the last two years, which instead reflects existing WiFi signals present in the environment to communicate with a router or other WiFi source. As a wearable or other embedded device needs only reflect the WiFi signal, not generate it, the technology allows for connectivity at only 0.01% of the power consumption of a regular network link.
To date, JPL researchers Adrian Tang, Nacer Chahat and Rod Kim together with UCLA faculty Frank Chang have demonstrated reflector links up to 3 Mb/s at ranges of up to 2.5m in the laboratory. With more advanced signal processing, it is believed that such devices will eventually operate up to 20 meters with data rates comparable to existing WiFi connections (approx. 50 Mb/s).