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  • The Battery-Free Chip That Could Power Your Devices

The Battery-Free Chip That Could Power Your Devices

26th September 2014

As technology continues to shrink and automate the world around us, two major challenges are inescapable: finding a sufficient power source, and procuring the aforementioned power source at a reasonable cost.

Recently, Amin Arbabian, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Stanford University, developed a battery-free chip the size of ant that he maintains will cost only a few cents to make. The device is so energy efficient that it gathers power from the electromagnetic waves that carry signals to its receiving antenna, allowing it to power itself as it operates. Arbabian recently spoke to Stanford news about the development, and how it could shape the future of connecting smaller devices.

“The next exponential growth in connectivity will be connecting objects together, and giving us remote control through the Web,” he said. Arbabian recently demonstrated the tiny radio chip at the VLSI Technology and Circuits Symposium in Hawaii.

As medtech devices continue to shrink, and the power to monitor and control many of these devices shifts onto smartphones and tablets, the chip could prove to be revolutionary, if it lives up to the hype. Its size and low cost could pave the way for the production of smaller, more portable devices to be used and controlled from the touch of a smartphone.

Much of the infrastructure for such an environment as been in place for some time. We’ve had the Internet to help us connect devices, and the introduction of smartphones and tablets gives us the ability to control these devices and issue commands. Unfortunately a powerful, affordable chip to connect these devices to the Internet has proved to be the missing link. That is, until now.

While other obstacles remain, Arbabian and his team continue to work toward a vision that enables devices to connect and operate on a single network seamlessly and efficiently. This chip could be the first major step in that direction, a world where all our devices can be powered efficiently, and controlled by the touch of a button.

To read the full article click here.

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