It goes without saying that in this day and age, one cannot live without a slew of devices at the side – a smartphone and a notebook for instance, and if you happen to do a fair bit of traveling as well, a tablet would come in handy for you to keep up to date with news on the Internet sans the bulk of a notebook. Unfortunately, the bane of all these devices lie in their battery life – or rather, the lack of it when you need it the most. In order to cope with power that will run out eventually, scientists at the University of Washington intend to roll back the inevitable by working on a prototype that they have called the “ambient backscatter” devices, where these will be able passively harness the power in radio and TV waves.
Since these devices do not generate their own signal, they will run on the power harvested from the air – through the absorption or reflection of binary information from current signals. The researchers tout that these signals are capable of traveling for a distance of up to 6.5 miles from a TV tower, with speeds that hit 1kb per second. I know, not the fastest speed in the universe at all, but think of the potential that ambient backscatter devices would be able to deliver, and the project itself is still in its infancy, which makes everything else all the more attractive and interesting.