A Wi-Fi microchip has been developed for wearable devices that transmit data at a quicker rate than traditional devices. It also uses less power. With the reduction of power required to transmit and receive data from a wearable to a Wi-Fi network or a computer, users can use the technology for a longer period of time, before they have to recharge it. Scientists from NASA have also taken part in the development of this microchip.
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The Development of the Microchip
M C Frank Chang at the University of California, Los Angeles and Adrian Tang of NASA‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California have worked on microchips for wearable devices that reflect wireless signals instead of using steady receivers and transmitters.
The solution that they have developed transmits data up to three times faster than standard Wi-Fi.
Tang Said “The idea is if the wearable device only needs to reflect the Wi-Fi signal from a router or cell tower, instead of generate it, the power consumption can go way down (and the battery life can go way up).”
The transmission of data to and from a wearable device is encoded as 1s and 0s. When the circuit absorbs incoming energy, it’s a 0 and 1 means that energy is reflected by the chip. With this simple switch mechanism very little power is used and information is transferred from a wearable to any other device like smartphone, computer, etc. rapidly.
— NASA (@NASA) July 23, 2015
Challenge Faced During the Development
Tang and his colleagues faced a challenge while developing this chip. The problem was that wearable devices are not the only objects which reflect signals. Floors, ceilings, walls, and other objects also do. The challenge for the chip was to distinguish between the real Wi-Fi signal of the device and the reflection from other objects in the background.
The background reflections were overcome with a wireless silicon chip that constantly sensed and subdued background reflections, letting the Wi-Fi signal to be transferred without any interference from other objects.
For the system to work, a base station and Wi-Fi service are needed. To compensate the use of low power by the wearable device, it is necessary that the other device with which data communication takes place, must be plugged into a power outlet or have a long battery life.
This Wi-Fi chip for wearable devices might be used for different applications in the future, including space.
— Wi-Fi Alliance (@WiFiAlliance) July 28, 2015
What do you think about the development of this technology? Do you feel it can really help in quick data transfer? We would like to hear your thoughts in the comments below.