Home Technology University of Washington develops Wi-Fi powered surveillance camera

University of Washington develops Wi-Fi powered surveillance camera

Researchers invented a method to harvest energy from a Wi-Fi router to beam power to a camera. The need for batteries has been done away with entirely, with Wi-Fi being the only source of power. This revolutionary technology has been invented by a PhD student named Vamsi Talla and his team of researchers in Sensor Systems Lab at University of Washington.

Talla and his team have issued a paper of their research, briefing the technology and the methodology used by them. The idea behind the technology is to send power to the electronic devices intentionally, using Wi-Fi as a source. To transmit this power, they reprogrammed three Atheros AR9580 chipsets, which are found in most Wi-Fi routers these days, and noticed that it supplied enough power to operate small devices, but only in small bursts. Hence, to keep the power levels steady, and neutralize these bursts, they inserted “noise” into the signals. This technique did not disrupt the data communication rate at all, and was dubbed as “PoWi-Fi” or the power-over-Wi-Fi.

Along with a low-power surveillance camera, Talla and his team was able to run a temperature sensor as well, from a distance of 6 meters from the Wi-Fi transmitter. They also noticed that if the camera was equipped with a rechargeable battery, they could power it from a distance of up to 7 meters (23 feet), even if they inserted a brick wall in between.


The camera they used, contained a low leakage capacitor for storing the power, giving it enough power to click a photograph every 35 minutes, once the capacitor gets charged. That might not be a lot, but when it’s implemented with the Internet of Things products, there are endless possibilities with this technology. In their research papers, Talla and his team also mentioned the possibilities of powering small sensors and actuators that are becoming common with the popularity of Internet of Things, making them cheaper and more useful.

This invention can mark a turning point in the field of technology, giving rise to many such innovative products, making lives both easier and economic together. The Wi-Fi routers are spotted in almost every house nowadays, and will be enough to power various small electronic devices like the cameras, smoke detectors, thermostats etc., with just a small amount of tweaking in them.

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