5g iot devices wireless power

Device provides 5G signal and wireless power to IoT devices simultaneously

Image credit: Dreamstime

A system that simultaneously broadcasts 5G signals and wireless power for Internet of Things (IoT) devices has been developed by researchers from Tokyo Tech.

The number of IoT devices is anticipated to rise alongside global improvements to 5G network coverage. However, such devices typically face hurdles regarding their connectivity and power supply; namely, short transmission distances and a fixed direction from which power can be received wirelessly.

The researchers have reported the production of a wirelessly powered transmitter-receiver for 5G networks that overcomes both of these problems.

Dr Atsushi Shirane, who led the project, said: “The millimetre-wave wireless power transfer system is a promising solution for massive Internet of Things, yet it has been hampered by technical problems. We were thus able to make a breakthrough by producing a 5G transceiver with high efficiency at big angles and distances.”

The transmitter-receiver produced by the team has two modes: a receiving mode and a transmitting mode.

In the receiving mode, the device receives a 5G signal and a millimetre-wave power signal. This power signal activates the device and provides it with power. The device then enters the transmission mode and sends a 5G signal back in the same direction from which it initially received one.

This allows devices to easily communicate without needing a separate plug point, unlike most current indoor IoT devices. The device can generate power over a wide span of angles and distances unlike other wireless power devices developed in the past.

“This was the world’s first simultaneous reception of power and communication signals with beam steering. We truly believe that technology like this can revolutionise the Internet of Things network and free it from the shackles that bind it today,” Shirane added.

A 'beam-steering' antenna was unveiled last week that increases the efficiency of data transmission, allowing speeds beyond those achievable with current 5G technologies.

Other alternatives for powering IoT devices could come in the form of batteries made of blue-green algae that can survive on ambient light and water, or a device that can harvest radiation from nearby electronic appliances.

Sign up to the E&T News e-mail to get great stories like this delivered to your inbox every day.

Recent articles