Researchers at the University of Waterloo have taken a huge step towards making smart devices that do not use batteries or require charging.
These battery-free objects, which feature an IP address for internet connectivity, are known as Internet of Things (IoT) devices. If an IoT device can operate without a battery it lowers maintenance costs and allows the device to be placed in areas that are off the grid.
Many of these IoT devices have sensors in them to detect their environment, from a room’s ambient temperature and light levels to sound and motion, but one of the biggest challenges is making these devices sustainable and battery-free.
Professor Omid Abari, Postdoctoral Fellow Ju Wang and Professor Srinivasan Keshav from Waterloo’s Cheriton School of Computer Science have found a way to hack radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, the ubiquitous squiggly ribbons of metal with a tiny chip found in various objects, and give the devices the ability to sense the environment.
“It’s really easy to do,” said Wang. “First, you remove the plastic cover from the RFID tag, then cut out a small section of the tag’s antenna with scissors, then attach a sensor across the cut bits of the antenna to complete the circuit.”
In their stock form, RFID tags provide only identification and location. It’s the hack the research team has done — cutting the tag’s antenna and placing a sensing device across it — that gives the tag the ability to sense its environment.
To give a tag eyes, the researchers hacked an RFID tag with a phototransistor, a tiny sensor that responds to different levels of light.
By exposing the phototransistor to light, it changed the characteristics of the RFID’s antenna, which in turn caused a change in the signal going to the reader. They then developed an algorithm on the reader side that monitors change in the tag’s signal, which is how it senses light levels.
Among the simplest of hacks is adding a switch to an RFID tag so it can act as a keypad that responds to touch.
“We see this as a good example of a complete software-hardware system for IoT devices,” Abari said. “We hacked simple hardware — we cut RFID tags and placed a sensor on them. Then we designed new algorithms and combined the software and hardware to enable new applications and capabilities.
“Our main contribution is showing how simple it is to hack an RFID tag to create an IoT device. It’s so easy a novice could do it.”
Learn more: Batteryless smart devices closer to reality
The Latest on: Smart devices
via Google News
The Latest on: Smart devices
- How Real Estate Will Drive Smart Home Adoptionon February 27, 2020 at 4:47 pm
Steve Koenig, CTA's VP of Research, presents tech trends to watch as well as the need for the ... [+] Internet of Things (IoT) to get a rebrand to the Intelligence of Things in the years to come. The ...
- You Can Control This Smart Candle’s Flame From Your Smartphoneon February 27, 2020 at 2:39 pm
Working a Candle Touch is just like any smart device—just download the app (iOS and Android), pair it with your device, and hit the right prompts to light the wick. Once the base receives the ...
- Smart camera startup Wyze sued following data breach that exposed customer informationon February 27, 2020 at 11:59 am
Founded in 2017 by a group of Amazon veterans, Wyze offers a series of low-priced cameras, locks, plugs, bulbs and other smart-home devices. The company, based in Kirkland, Wash., raised $20 million ...
- FBI warning about your smart deviceson February 26, 2020 at 4:13 pm
With so many smart devices like doorbells now on the same internet system as your computer, hackers can get into them to access your computer information.
- Legislation Restricts Data Sharing by Smart Home Deviceson February 26, 2020 at 1:05 pm
Concerns about loss of privacy are driving potential new legislation in Pennsylvania that would require smart home device manufacturers to obtain an opt-in consent from consumers before being able to ...
- ‘Alexa, turn on the shower’: Smart devices are transforming the bathroomon February 26, 2020 at 7:06 am
Because smart tech in the bathroom can quickly get pricey — smart toilets run up to around $17,000 — Kadlec recommends keeping costs down elsewhere. Update the throne room by cleaning the tile and ...
- 'What is an Amazon Smart Plug?': Everything you need to know about Amazon's outlet that lets you turn devices on with your voiceon February 25, 2020 at 9:54 am
Devices plugged into an Amazon Smart Plug can be turned on and off using the Alexa app on your smartphone or tablet.
- HONOR bolsters its "1+8+N" all-scenario IoT strategy with comprehensive suite of new smart deviceson February 24, 2020 at 9:07 pm
/PRNewswire/ -- HONOR strengthened its all-scenario IoT strategy with the launch of a comprehensive product line-up through a live stream press conference.
- Which smart devices are actually worth it (and which gadgets are better off dumb)on February 24, 2020 at 12:18 pm
In most cases, smart technology is a welcome convenience that can help with everything from securing your home to keeping the temperature nice and cozy. But on some devices, it's a gimmick (or worse, ...
via Bing News