The jury is still out on whether the Internet of Things will make our lives any easier. If and when it does, a lot of it might be powered these tiny, ant-sized radios.
These radios that are made of silicon and measure just a few millimetres each, have been developed by researchers at Stanford University. You can fit tens of them on a penny and the good news is that they're dirt cheap to manufacture.
How did they achieve this? No batteries, for one, says PC World. The power requirements of these radios are so little that they can harvest the energy that they need from nearby radio fields, such as a reader device. PC World writes:
RFID tags and contactless smartcards can get their power the same way, drawing energy from a radio source, but Stanford's radio has more processing power than those simpler devices, a university representative said. That means it could query a sensor for its data, for instance, and transmit it when required.
The device operates in the 24GHz and 60GHz bands, suitable for communications over a few tens of centimeters.
Imagine tens of thousands of these little devices embedded in everyday things around you, swapping data among themselves. The future is here. Almost. [PC World]
Top image: Amin Arbabian/Standford University