Video: Magical wireless communications, no batteries or transmitters needed

University of Washington researchers harness omnipresent TV signals to enable wireless communication

These days, we're surrounded by all manner of wireless signals. Most of them are essentially single-use signals, but researchers at the University of Washington have developed a way to use TV and cellular signals to do more than just broadcast TV and provide smartphone communication.

In the above video, you'll see small devices exchange bits of information over short distances. It's pretty unremarkable, except for one detail: The devices don't have any batteries or transmitters, yet they're able to wirelessly communicate anyway. The secret is in what the researchers call "ambient backscatter," the omnipresent existing transmissions. The devices exchange information by reflecting existing TV and cellular signals. As such, they need neither a power source nor human monitoring to function.

The researchers see tremendous potential for this technology with the Internet of things, including wearable devices and sensor networks.

This story, "Video: Magical wireless communications, no batteries or transmitters needed," was originally published at Keep up with the latest tech videos with the InfoTube blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.