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Gadgets Powered Wirelessly at Home With a Simple Wi-Fi Router


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Power between wires.

A new system can power electrical devices with a wireless router's signal.

Credit: Jorg Greuel/Getty

A multi-university team of researchers has developed a system that can power electrical devices with just a wireless router's signal, even while it provides wireless Internet access to an area. Using a traditional Wi-Fi signal, devices can be powered when the Internet is being used; however, when not browsing, the signal goes quiet.

The new software broadcasts meaningless data across several Wi-Fi channels when the Internet is not being used, and small devices could use this signal as part of an Internet of Things, according to University of Reading researcher Ben Potter.

The researchers tested the system in six households in which modified electrical devices were put in the homes along with a Wi-Fi router. Over 24 hours, the devices were powered only by the router's signal converted to electricity via a rectifier, while also continuing to provide wireless Internet to the home.

There could be high demand for this type of technology for the many sensors that will fill the smart homes and cities of the future. For example, sensors powered by Wi-Fi could be used to monitor air quality or the status of systems across a city.

From New Scientist
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