Tiny Temperature Sensor Could Pave the Way for Wireless Data Transmission

PremissTempSensorWe’ve really started something when it comes to smart things. It’s limitless. Not only can we use our already-connected devices to control other devices, we can make regular appliances and items in our home become connected, ultimately transforming the way we live. Researchers from the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands (TU/e) have come up with something so powerful, you’d be surprised to know that it doesn’t use the traditional kind of power we’re used to. Project PREMISS is a tiny temperature sensor that has the ability to draw power without the use of any batteries. This type of breakthrough could dramatically enhance opportunities in the Internet of Things (IoT) by ridding the use of un-smart wiring to power our smart homes.

PremissTempSensor1The path to a connected home involves incorporating new devices, and smart sensors in those devices, that gather information to carry out tasks, and for communication. This automated way of business and living will hit some challenges though, as our sensors and devices become smaller. We will soon need to meet these smaller-sized requirements without going through packs of batteries, or the stringing of wires all over the place.

PremissTempSensor3In comes this new remarkable sensor chip, PREMISS, which could very well be the smallest the world has seen. More important is the fact that it “draws power from radio waves being broadcast by the same wireless network it uses to communicate”. By using an antenna to capture the router’s energy, it stores enough energy to switch on, measure (in this case) temperature data, and send that data back to the router where it can be read (BGR).

While PREMISS is highly innovative, it’s not quite ready to be integrated in our smart homes yet. Its current hurdle involves distance of transmission, which at only about one inch, isn’t useful enough to use. Once the researchers at TU/e can get the battery-free temperature sensor to transfer information at a longer range, we will start to see the technology being used in all sorts of situations. On the University’s blog post, the team explains that they expect to see the range extended to about 3 feet within the next year, with the ultimate goal of sending data over distances of 16 feet or greater. Besides temperature, we will most likely see the sensor being used to measure light, movement, and humidity. Becoming wire and battery-free has to be one of the bigger hurdles that the IoT industry has been facing, and the PREMISS project could very well be the leader in making it all come together.

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