Small devices and wearables are becoming even more popular as the technological market is evolving, however with new devices comes new problems such as the ability to maintain connectivity wirelessly without draining the battery. In order to combat this, researcher have been designing a reflected Wi-Fi system over the past couple years, allowing for wearables and small devices to stay connected using minimal power.
Reflected Wi-Fi works by reflecting the signal that a router sends out, bouncing it back in order to connect a device. This method is called Ambient Backscatter. Devices using ambient backscatter don’t require a transmitter in order to connect, meaning that existing wearables could be redeveloped in order to reduce manufacturing costs by remove unnecessary components. The tech works by tweaking and reflecting waves that bounce around us, using 0.01% of the power usually used by a normal link.
Ambient backscatter isn’t just a concept. Tests have succeeded in achieving up to 3mbps data speeds, although currently only works across a distance of 8 feet. Further research and development is hoping to extend this distance up to 65 feet, making reflected Wi-Fi the practical solution to energy efficient connectivity.