A new radio-chip device could offer a cost effective solution to the capital-intensive hurdles preventing the proliferation of the Internet of Things.
Engineers at Stanford University have developed what’s been described as an “ant-sized radio” that could allow two-way communication between any electronic device. Capable of operating at 24 billion cycles per second the chip, which is one tenth the size of a WiFi antenna, costs only pennies to produce. While being small and inexpensive are certainly boons for this type of device, designers admit that one of its most appealing characteristics is that it needs no external power. In fact, according to Stanford, the new chip is so “energy efficient that it gathers all the power it needs from the same electromagnetic waves that carry signals to its receiving antenna – no batteries required.”
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Being able to control devices remotely could be key to achieving better personal energy efficiency and changing the way we interact with technology. In the distant future connected devices could also be a training ground for weak AI systems where domestic duties like making coffee and running the dishwasher could be triggered by actions like turning on the shower or dimming the lights for bed.