A team of engineers from the University of Washington led by assistant professor Shyam Gollakota and Vamsi Talla an electrical engineering student, have developed one of the most innovative and game-changing technologies of the year, known as Power Over Wi-Fi (PoWiFi) that uses a Wi-Fi Router to power devices at home and beyond.
Ms Talla said they have shown that one can use Wi-Fi devices to power sensors in cameras and other devices and have also made a system that can co-exist as a Wi-Fi router and a power source that does not degrade the quality of WiFi-signals while it is powering devices.
PoWiFi could help enable development of the Internet of Things, where small computing sensors are embedded in everyday objects like coffee makers, washing machines etc, allowing those devices to ‘talk’ to each other.
Professor Gollakota said PoWi-Fi would in the future leverage technology power scaling to further improve the efficiency of the system to enable operation at larger distances and power numerous more sensors and applications.
Overcoming other challenges the team also developed sensors that can be integrated in devices to harvest the power. The researchers also tested the PoWi-Fi system in six homes successfully.
The team will present their final paper next month at the Association for Computing Machinery’s CoNEXT 2015 conference in Heidelberg, Germany.