One of the main problems with today’s mobile devices is the battery. Add newer technologies like NFC and RFID to a mobile device and you will see that its battery life suffers as a result. What if one can communicate wirelessly without the need for any batteries or any kind of power supply? Such a technology will revolutionise the mobile telephony world. It will lead to the installation of wireless antennas in the most unlikely places as those antennas do not need any bulky batteries to support them.
This technology, that of communicating wirelessly without the need for a power source, makes use of a phenomenon called ‘ambient backscatter’ which takes existing radio frequency waves like broadcast TV signals and turns them into a source of power, thereby providing a ‘new form of communication that provides connectivity between computers out of what is essentially thin air’.
The man behind this invention is Shyamnath Gollakota, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington. Gollakota has a PhD and a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the MIT and a B.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering from the IIT, Madras.
Gollakota, whose research in networking, focuses on issues relating to wireless interference and security has done some groundbreaking research on concepts like ZigZag Decoding and password free wireless security. His work has been featured in outlets like BBC and Forbes.