Stanford engineers recently developed a technique for that will enable them to control IoT devices with radio signals. To make the process more clear they have named the device as HitchHike. Researcher Pengyu Zhang from this team quotes, “HitchHike is the first self-sufficient WiFi system that enables data transmission using just microwatts of energy – almost zero. It can be used as it is with existing WiFi without modification or additional equipment. You can use it right now with a cell phone and your off-the-shelf WiFi router.”
The team also adds that HitchHike works on such low pressure that even a small sized battery can enable its functioning for almost a decade and even ahead of that. The device also carries the power to harvest energy from pre-existing radio waves and consume that electromagnetic energy to empower itself. Being capable of plucking energy of surroundings, the device will thus be able to keep itself powered indefinitely. The associate professor from this college and also a member of the team, Sachin Katti, says, “HitchHike could lead to widespread adoption in the Internet of Things. Sensors could be deployed anywhere we can put a coin battery that has existing WiFi. The technology could potentially even operate without batteries. That would be a big development in this field.”
The Hitchhike prototype is a radio as well as a processor. It has a range of some 50 meters and will be able to transmit some 300kbits/s. It size is somewhat close to a postage stamp, however, the team is of the opinion that its dimensions can further be reduced for installation in bio-devices such as a wireless heart rate sensor. It basically translates the radio waves received from laptop or a Smartphone to its messages and then transmits the data again over a different WiFi channel to keep radio interferences between new data stream and original signal at bay.
As far as the processor is concerned, you can count HitchHike among the simplest translation devices. HitchHike is capable of translating the incoming code words in form of its own data. In case, the received code word signals a zero and the devices wish it to stay zero or vice versa, it will translate it to some other alternate code word.
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