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Power over WiFi: An Internet of Things Enabler

By June 7, 2015Articles

My last post explained how a WiFi-enabled system on a chip (SoC) and a node.js open source software stack can be used to turn anything into a client or a server. Anything with a power supply, that is. The Tweet Monkey demo I described used a USB power supply that was many times bigger and heavier than the Intel Edison SoC it powered. However, Wired reports that researchers at the University of Washington have enhanced standard WiFi routers to transmit power to radio-frequency sensors that can be used to power devices. The system does not interfere with today’s WiFi technology. The enhancements can be implemented with a firmware upgrade to today’s routers, along with custom-built sensors. The UW team has already implemented working systems in six Seattle-area homes, according to the Wired article, using WiFi routers that are several years old.

Imagine never having to recharge your smartphone or smartwatch. Imagine a home, office, clinic, laboratory, factory, or distribution center full of smart devices that could communicate with each other continuously without being recharged. How should enterprise, solution and business architects help their organizations prepare for a future of ubiquitous, always-on, connected smart devices?

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