This new tiny sensor caught my eye on a post on Institution of Mechanical Engineers with promises of low power and long range. Hey, those things usually don’t go together, but engineers at the University of Washington have created the first wide-area backscatter system. Here’s how it works according to the post.
The team’s system has three components: a radio signal source, sensors that encode information in reflections of the signal, and an inexpensive receiver which decodes the information. They introduced a new type of modulation – called chirp spread spectrum – into the “backscatter” design, spreading the reflected signals across multiple frequencies and achieving greater sensitivity and range.
The range for the setup is almost 3km and brings a variety of potential uses including medtech and farming. In fact the team tested some interesting devices according to the post.
The engineers built a smart contact lens prototype and a flexible epidermal patch, which transmitted across a 307m2 atrium – far further than a prior maximum range of about 1m.
For more information on this project, check out the team’s paper. LoRa (Long range, low power) is becoming a common phrase among hardware lovers, and you can learn more about the benefits by diving into our guide for the Adafruit Feather 32u4 with LoRa Radio Module. Long distance relationships can be a beautiful thing.
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