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posted by Fnord666 on Sunday November 11 2018, @04:57AM   Printer-friendly
from the energy-for-free dept.

Submitted via IRC for Bytram

Batteryless smart devices closer to reality

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have taken a huge step towards making smart devices that do not use batteries or require charging.

These battery-free objects, which feature an IP address for internet connectivity, are known as Internet of Things (IoT) devices. If an IoT device can operate without a battery it lowers maintenance costs and allows the device to be placed in areas that are off the grid.

Many of these IoT devices have sensors in them to detect their environment, from a room's ambient temperature and light levels to sound and motion, but one of the biggest challenges is making these devices sustainable and battery-free.

Professor Omid Abari, Postdoctoral Fellow Ju Wang and Professor Srinivasan Keshav from Waterloo's Cheriton School of Computer Science have found a way to hack radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, the ubiquitous squiggly ribbons of metal with a tiny chip found in various objects, and give the devices the ability to sense the environment.

"It's really easy to do," said Wang. "First, you remove the plastic cover from the RFID tag, then cut out a small section of the tag's antenna with scissors, then attach a sensor across the cut bits of the antenna to complete the circuit."

In their stock form, RFID tags provide only identification and location. It's the hack the research team has done -- cutting the tag's antenna and placing a sensing device across it -- that gives the tag the ability to sense its environment.

[...] The research paper by Wang, Abari and Keshav titled, Challenge: RFID Hacking for Fun and Profit-ACM MobiCom, appeared in the Proceedings of the 24th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, October 29-November 2, 2018, New Delhi, India, 461- 70.


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  • (Score: 2) by bradley13 on Sunday November 11 2018, @02:19PM (3 children)

    by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Sunday November 11 2018, @02:19PM (#760639) Homepage Journal

    All they did is put a switch between the RFID tag and its antenna. Whoopi.

    Not seeing where an IP address comes from. Also, RFID, which means that these chips are only powered if a reader is pointed at them - nothing new there either.

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by RandomFactor on Sunday November 11 2018, @04:39PM

    by RandomFactor (3682) Subscriber Badge on Sunday November 11 2018, @04:39PM (#760657) Journal

    Yes, sounds like a way to grab a teensy bit of current from a handscanner's signal, which RFID tags already do by design, and then instead of using it to power the RFID tag use it to run
     
    If you really want off the grid, might I recommend...mushrooms?
     
    https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=18/11/10/1633249 [soylentnews.org]
     
    Although I guess we would have to rename IoT to Internet of Toadstools

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  • (Score: 2) by jmorris on Sunday November 11 2018, @06:59PM (1 child)

    by jmorris (4844) on Sunday November 11 2018, @06:59PM (#760683)

    More important, they are idiots who don't know how to google. You can buy RFID tags with built in sensors. The manual for the FEIG RFID scanners I use documents some of them.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 11 2018, @10:48PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 11 2018, @10:48PM (#760728)

      Give them a break, they're foreigners who had to study in Canada because the USA has more effective screening systems.