A few months ago I authored a post about paper batteries powered by bacteria that could support IoT sensors. In the post I also referenced the fact that the bacteria could also act as an agent in the self-disposal process of the battery at the end of its useful life. A more recent article states that now there are other materials and techniques for collecting power from radio waves that could spur mass battery-free IoT sensors. There is a school of thought that disposable electronics based on battery-free, low-cost systems could soon form the foundation for future IoT systems. Some experts feel that we are on the cusp of changing the way IoT-sensor battery products are made, how they are used and how they can be reclaimed.
Harnessing energy inherent in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth radio waves to power remote, wireless, Internet of Things (IoT) sensors — and also communicate with the devices at the same time — is a big-ticket item on IoT want-lists. Advantages include no batteries, thus reducing costs, size and weight.
The key to achieving it functionally, some scientists say, is in converting AC waveforms to DC voltage, combined with the use of new materials. Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, along with some collaborators, say they’ve made a breakthrough in this area. Interestingly, it also includes scaling potential.