Atmel | Bits & Pieces

This new technology could reduce the power needed to send information from wearables.

Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and UCLA are currently working on a Wi-Fi reflector chip that they say would drastically improve battery life in wearable devices by reducing the power needed to transmit or receive information to computers and cellular and Wi-Fi networks.


The chip uses existing wireless signals to reflect information back to a router or cell tower instead of the wearable generating the signal itself. According to Adrian Tang of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, not only does this drastically reduce power consumption, the solution also transmits Wi-Fi signal three times faster than traditional Wi-Fi.

Information transmitted to and from a wearable device is encoded as 1s and 0s, just like data on a computer. When incoming energy is absorbed by the circuit, that’s a “0,” and if the chip reflects that energy, that’s a “1.” This simple switch mechanism uses…

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