WISP computer has no battery and draws energy wirelessly from radio waves

Since past couple of years we have all been hearing the Internet of Things hype and how it will revolutionize the way we deal with gadgets, but upto now we have rarely seen it save some gadgets. WISP is one such computer that can prove that IoT is indeed the future for mankind.  A team of researchers from the University of Washington’s Sensor Lab have come up with a way we might be able to get around that with a device called the WISP. It’s a tiny computer that doesn’t need a battery.

We already have tiny computers but researchers at the University of Washington Sensor Lab have gone ahead and found a way to make them even tinier. They got rid of the battery to make WISP that much smaller. As reported by Fast Co. Design, the team’s Wireless Identification and Sensing Platform (WISP) gets its power by harvesting radio waves from the air.



In order to function, the WISP gathers energy from a standard radio frequency identification, or RFID reader. From there it’s able to generate enough electricity to do low-key processing tasks like keeping track of sensor information.

While WISP is battery free it doesnt have that much charge as a normal battery charged computer. In fact, it has around the same bandwidth as Bluetooth Low Energy mode and the same clock speed as the processor in a Fitbit. Thus, it may not be powerful enough to power smartphones of the future but it can definitely be used more low-tech applications.

For e.g. architects could build the light-weight computers into concrete structures as a way of monitoring a building’s status after an earthquake without taking it apart. It could also be used as a sensor in fitness wearables and medical implants that track a patient’s health.

Sensor Lab researchers have recently made WISP powerful enough to run some decent practical applications. They have also made WISP capable of being reprogrammed wirelessly, so if users wanted to update it after installing the sensor in a building, or someone’s body, it wouldn’t need to be plugged in.

WISP isn’t the first battery-free sensor of its kind. A few years ago, researchers developed an RFID-powered “smart hard hat”, that beeps when hazardous equipment is nearby. That said and done, WISP’s battery-free and wireless charging feature is a breakthrough.