Battery-free Bluetooth sensor: Power from the Air

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Battery-free Bluetooth sensor: Power from the Air

Israel-based startup Wiliot announced the close of $30 million round of funding from investors including Amazon Web Services, Samsung Venture Investment and Qualcomm Ventures. Wiliot makes a sticker sized battery-free Bluetooth sensor tag with an ARM processor that receives its power from ambient radio frequencies.

Wiliot claims that its sensors can transmit information such as location, proximity, and encrypted serial numbers, along with weight and temperature data. NanoWatt computing technology is used to communicate the data to other devices. The sensors are printed on thin plastic or paper tags and are about as big as a postal stamp. Wiliot also claims that the sensors have unlimited power and lifespan and can be embedded inside of products that had no connection to the Internet of Things previously.
The startup is eying the retail, manufacturing and logistics sectors as the main target markets for these battery-free Bluetooth transponders. In manufacturing, for instance, the Battery-free Bluetooth sensor tags can be embedded in the production phase for real-time tracking through the manufacturing process. In retail, the tags can facilitate interactive product engagement on packaging, or used to track valuable products in the event of loss or theft.

We believe that disposable electronics based on battery-free, low-cost systems are the foundation for future IoT systems. We are on the edge of dramatically changing the way products are made, how they are distributed, where and when they are sold, and how they are used and recycled,

said Tal Tamir, Wiliot CEO and co-founder.

Re-cycling the radiation around us to power sticker-size sensors can enable new ways for consumers to interact with products that were previously not feasible. Products can share when they are picked up, their temperature, or when they need to be replenished. Without batteries or other high-cost components, tags have unlimited power and lifespan, so can be embedded inside of products that were previously unconnected to the Internet of Things.

Author: Tim Cole
Image Credit: Wiliot

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