The Internet - The first Worldwide Tool of Unification ("The End of History")

" ... Now I give you something that few think about: What do you think the Internet is all about, historically? Citizens of all the countries on Earth can talk to one another without electronic borders. The young people of those nations can all see each other, talk to each other, and express opinions. No matter what the country does to suppress it, they're doing it anyway. They are putting together a network of consciousness, of oneness, a multicultural consciousness. It's here to stay. It's part of the new energy. The young people know it and are leading the way.... "

" ... I gave you a prophecy more than 10 years ago. I told you there would come a day when everyone could talk to everyone and, therefore, there could be no conspiracy. For conspiracy depends on separation and secrecy - something hiding in the dark that only a few know about. Seen the news lately? What is happening? Could it be that there is a new paradigm happening that seems to go against history?... " Read More …. "The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“…5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

Have you seen innovation and invention in the past decade that required thinking out of the box of an old reality? Indeed, you have. I can't tell you what's coming, because you haven't thought of it yet! But the potentials of it are looming large. Let me give you an example, Let us say that 20 years ago, you predicted that there would be something called the Internet on a device you don't really have yet using technology that you can't imagine. You will have full libraries, buildings filled with books, in your hand - a worldwide encyclopedia of everything knowable, with the ability to look it up instantly! Not only that, but that look-up service isn't going to cost a penny! You can call friends and see them on a video screen, and it won't cost a penny! No matter how long you use this service and to what depth you use it, the service itself will be free.

Now, anyone listening to you back then would perhaps have said, "Even if we can believe the technological part, which we think is impossible, everything costs something. There has to be a charge for it! Otherwise, how would they stay in business?" The answer is this: With new invention comes new paradigms of business. You don't know what you don't know, so don't decide in advance what you think is coming based on an old energy world. ..."
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)



Etiquette mavens say the book on manners must be rewritten, literally, to take into
account new technologies and social media (AFP Photo/Ed Jones)

A 2012 survey by Intel found that in several countries, a majority said they were put
off by "oversharing" of pictures and personal information on the
internet and smartphones (AFP Photo/Nicolas Asfouri)

Honouring computing’s 1843 visionary, Lady Ada Lovelace. (Design of doodle by Kevin Laughlin)
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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Indian start-up launches shoes that show you the way

Yahoo – AFP, Annie Banerji, 31 Aug 2014

Krispian Lawrence, CEO of Ducere Technologies, tries on a pair of GPS-enabled
 smart sports shoes called LeChal in his office in Hyderabad on August 11, 2014 (AFP 
Photo/Noah Seelam)

"Wizard of Oz" heroine Dorothy only had to click her ruby red slippers together and they would spirit her home to Kansas.

Now, an Indian high-tech start-up is promising to do the same in real life with a new, GPS-enabled smart sports shoe that vibrates to give the wearer directions.

The fiery red sneakers, which will also count the number of steps taken, distance travelled and calories burned, will go on sale in September under the name LeChal, which means "take me along" in Hindi.

Krispian Lawrence, CEO of Ducere
Technologies, holds the inner sole of a pair
of GPS-enabled smart sports shoes called
LeChal at his office in Hyderabad on
August 11, 2014 (AFP Photo/Noah Seelam)
The shoes come with a detachable Bluetooth transceiver that links to a smartphone app to direct the wearer using Google maps, sending a vibrating signal to indicate a left or right turn.

They are the brainchild of 30-year-old Krispian Lawrence and Anirudh Sharma, 28, two engineering graduates who founded their tech start-up Ducere in a small apartment in 2011 with backing from angel investors and now employ 50 people.

"We got this idea and realised that it would really help visually challenged people, it would work without any audio or physical distractions," said Lawrence in an interview with AFP.

"But then we were trying it out on ourselves and suddenly we were like, 'wait a minute, even I would want this,' because it felt so liberating not having to look down at your phone or being tied to anything."

"The footwear works instinctively. Imagine if someone taps your right shoulder, your body naturally reacts to turn right, and that's how LeChal works."

Growing sector

Smart shoes aimed at specific demographic markets -- such as dementia sufferers and children whose parents want to keep track of their movements -- are already commercially available.

But Lawrence and Sharma believe theirs will be the first to target mass-market consumers, and have focused on creating stylish rather than purely functional footwear.

As well as the red sneaker, they are marketing an insole to allow users to slip the technology into their own shoes.

"Earlier, wearable technology was always seen as machine-like, nerdy glasses or watches, but now that is changing," said Lawrence.

They say they have 25,000 advance orders for the shoes, which will retail at between $100 and $150.

Demand has so far mostly been through word of mouth and through the lechal.com website. But the company is in talks with retailers to stock the shoes ahead of the holiday season in India and the United States.

It forecasts it will sell more than 100,000 pairs of the shoes, which are manufactured in China, by next April.

Wearable technology is a growing global sector. Market tracker IDC forecast in April that sales would triple this year to 19 million units worldwide, growing to 111.9 million by 2018.

Krispian Lawrence,CEO of Ducere 
Technologies, holds a pair of GPS-enabled
 smart sports shoes called LeChal at his 
office in Hyderabad on August 11, 2014
(AFP Photo/Noah Seelam)
The industry's rapid growth has given rise to fears about privacy, although Ducere says it will record no data on users and maintains robust security.

The company still hopes its product will be useful for visually impaired people, and experts at the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute in the southern city of Hyderabad are testing its suitability.

"It's a perfect intuitive wearable item. You may forget to wear a belt or a helmet, but shoes you can never leave the house without," said Anthony Vipin Das, a doctor at the institute.

"LeChal solves orientation and direction problems, it's a good assistant to the cane."

Possible problems include battery failure or loss of Bluetooth connectivity, which Das says could be fixed by providing a live feed of a user's position to a friend or relative, with their consent.

The company says it could use a portion of any future profits to subsidise the shoes for disabled users.

For all the shoes' high-tech features, Lawrence's favourite thing is that he no longer loses his phone -- if the wearer moves too far from his or her phone, the shoes buzz to warn them.

"I'm a very forgetful person and the best part is that the shoes don't let you forget your phone," he said.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Ecuador gives details of new digital currency

BBC News, 29 August 2014

The central bank says the electronic currency will make life easier for consumers

The Ecuadorean government has released more details of its plans to create what it calls the world's first digital currency issued by a central bank.

Central bank officials say the electronic money, as yet unnamed, will start circulating in December.

The new money will be used alongside the existing currency in Ecuador, the US dollar.

President Rafael Correa has said the digital currency will help those who cannot afford traditional banking.

Central bank officials say the electronic money will be used to pay government bureaucrats in a "hygienic manner".

The electronic currency is also designed to help poorer Ecuadoreans make and receive payments using mobile phone technology.

Such mobile payment schemes have become very popular in African countries where they are privately run.

Ecuador introduced the US dollar as its currency after a crippling bank crisis in 2000.

President Rafael Correa has denied any plans to replace the US dollar

Since then, the government has tripled social spending and the state is currently billions in debt, mostly to China which buys most of Ecuador's oil.

Analysts say the introduction of the electronic currency could be used to increase the money supply and devalue US dollar holdings - a first step towards abandoning the US dollar.

President Correa has denied this is the case.

Exchange rate

"It will be interesting to see who controls the exchange rate," said Jeremy Booney - a product manager for Coindesk - a website for digital currency news.

"So when an Ecuadorean exchanges the digital currency for US dollars, is it going to be the government who sets the rate, or is it down to supply and demand?

"And the government could decide to put the digital currency up if it wants."

There are also challenges in persuading Ecuadoreans to use a digital currency, Mr Booney said.

"Bitcoin (a global digital currency) has faced huge challenges to get people around the world to use it, and that is a worldwide movement with thousands of developers working on it."

The new currency was approved by Ecuador's National Assembly last month. At the same time, stateless digital currencies like Bitcoin were banned.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Dutch firms trials robot hawks to chase off gulls and protect crops

DutchNews.nl, Thursday 28 August 2014

A remote controlled hawk in action. Photo: Clear Flight Solutions

A Dutch company is developing robot birds to protect crops and chase away other birds, the Volkskrant reports on Thursday.

Robot birds are not new but Clear Flight Solutions hopes to take its own product to market mid next year. Trials are currently underway on a rubbish tip in Twente where the remote controlled birds are being used to keep gulls at bay.

There are dozens of places where the robot hawks and falcons can be used, the Volkskrant says. For example, tens of thousands of geese which congregate around Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport could be chased away rather than gassed.

Gulls

The robot birds, with a wing span of up to one metre, could also be used to reduce the nuisance caused by gulls and pigeons in cities which become accustomed to other attempts to scare them off.

‘Birds are disturbed by kites or loud noises a couple of times but then they get used to it,’ company founder Nico Nijenhuis told the paper.

‘But birds are genetically programmed to be afraid of birds of prey. Our birds not only look like birds of prey but act like them. They chase other birds at 80 kph and make it very clear: I am the predator and you are the prey.’

Before the birds can be used in the field, a number of changes need to be made. For example, Dutch law bans the use of unmanned aircraft for commercial aims unless they have a permit.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

US judge rejects Apple bid to ban Samsung smartphones

Yahoo – AFP, 28 Aug 2014

Attendees gather at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference at the Moscone
West center on June 2, 2014 in San Francisco, California (AFP Photo/Justin Sullivan)

A judge on Wednesday rejected a bid by Apple to ban US sales of rival Samsung smartphones targeted in a recent $2 billion patent trial in Silicon Valley.

The decision was seen as a setback for Apple in its long-running battle with Samsung over features built into Android-powered mobile devices that compete worldwide with iPhones and iPads.

The California-based Apple requested an injunction on offending Samsung mobile devices -- which were from the flagship Galaxy line -- after a patent trial that ended with a mixed verdict in May.

A Samsung Electronics flag flies outside
 their headquarters in Seoul, November 6,
2013 (AFP Photo/Jung Yeon-Je)
Jurors awarded $119.6 million in damages to Apple.

While the amount of the award is huge, it is only a fraction of the more than $2 billion Apple had sought at the outset of the case.

"Apple's cited evidence indicates that Samsung paid close attention to, and tried to incorporate, certain iPhone features," US District Court Judge Lucy Koh said in a written ruling denying an injunction.

"While indicative of copying by Samsung, this evidence alone does not establish that the infringing features drove customer demand for Samsung's smartphones and tablets."

"Apple has not established that it suffered significant harm in the form of either lost sales or reputational injury," Koh said in her latest ruling.

"Moreover, Apple has not shown that it suffered any of these alleged harms because Samsung infringed Apple's patents."

Partial ceasefire

Patents at issue in the case involve unlocking touchscreens with slide gestures, automatically correcting words being typed, retrieving data sought by users and performing actions on found data such as making a call after coming up with a phone number.

Samsung devices targeted by Apple included more than half a dozen smartphones from the Galaxy line, along with the Galaxy 2 tablet.

Jurors agreed that Samsung violated three of five Apple patents at issue in the two-month-long trial.

Jurors also found that Apple violated a Samsung patent and said Apple should pay its rival $158,400 in damages.

In August 2012, a separate jury in the same court decided that Samsung should pay Apple $1.049 billion in damages for illegally copying iPhone and iPad features, in one of the biggest patent cases in decades.

The damage award was later trimmed to $929 million and is being appealed.

Samsung and Apple decided earlier this month to drop all patent disputes outside the United States.

Both companies have been locked in a three-year battle of litigative attrition in close to a dozen countries, with each accusing the other of infringing on various patents related to their flagship smartphone and tablet products.

But neither has managed to deliver a knock-out blow with a number of rulings going different ways, and the partial ceasefire suggested a line was being drawn.

Apple has accused its South Korean rival of massive and wilful copying of its designs and technology for smartphones and tablets.

Samsung has counter-claimed that Apple had used some of its technology without permission.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Mobile phone games developed in Africa

Companies developing games for mobile phones are springing up in East Africa. Although the mobile gaming market there is growing, financial returns are still small. But the developers aren't easily discouraged.

Deutsche Welle, 15 Aug 2014


On the display of 11-year-old Kanini's mobile phone, a matatu - one of those notorious Kenyan share taxis - is roaring along a straight road. The yellow-striped minibus passes a stop sign and more cash is clocked up on the taxi meter. "Cool" says Kanini. "You have to dodge all the other road users - trucks, motorbikes, old cars." Then, all of sudden, another minibus appears, a black one. The game ends - in a crash!

The mobile game is Ma3 Racer. "Matatus here in Nairobi drive like maniacs anyway," said Mwaura Kikore who had the idea for it. Kikore is one of the co-founders of Planet Rackus, the company that developed Kenya's first gaming apps.

Mwaura Kikore is planning a more
ambitious game with better graphics
The first version of Ma3 Racer (tatu means three in Kiswahili), with low resolution graphics for basic mobile phones, was released three years ago. The game's developers didn't have very high expectations of it. "If the game had been downloaded 10,000 times in the first year, we would have thought that great," Kikore said. "But then we reached that target in the first three days. In the first year we had notched up over a million downloads."

Preserving African culture

Basic mobile phones are common in Kenya. 80 percent of the population uses them because Kenya does not possess an extensive, reliable landline network. The same is true elsewhere in East Africa. The mobile games market is booming."We're counting on it," said Daniel Okalany, head of Kola Studios, a game development company in Uganda."We are hoping that smartphones will sell faster than all other mobile phones. That's why we are making apps for mobile phones and not for PCs or the Internet," he said.

Kola's games include Mosquito Rush in which you have to swat some rather aggressive insects. They also offer apps that simulate traditional African card games. "We are helping to preserve African culture" said Okalany. "Everything that isn't digitalized these days gets quickly forgotten. That's why we want to preserve these games."

Ma3 Racer exceeded the developers' wildest expectations

African heroes

Kikore said African games differ slightly from their European or American counterparts. "That doesn't necessarily mean that these games are just for Africans. They have universal appeal. But we have African heroes, the settings are African or involve Africans in non-African settings," he said.

At the moment it is not profitable to develop games solely for the African market. Most Africans cannot afford even the more inexpensive smartphones, let alone gaming apps for these devices. App stores are international anyway. The market for apps is worth billions of dollars (euros) and the competition is tough. "Nobody on this continent can earn his living from developing games. We all have day jobs and we develop games when we have time," said Kikore.

Kikore has a job in an advertising agency. But he doesn't want to stay there forever. He is working on an adventure game. It will have ten levels, 3D graphics and be sophisticated enough so that gamers will be prepared to pay to use it.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Robo-cook: android restaurant boots up in China

Yahoo – AFP, 14 Aug 2014

A robot carries food to customers in a restaurant in Kunshan, China
on August 13, 2014 (AFP Photo/Johannes Eisele)

Kunshan (China) (AFP) - It's more teatime than Terminator -- a restaurant in China is electrifying customers by using more than a dozen robots to cook and deliver food.

Mechanical staff greet customers, deliver dishes to tables and even stir-fry meat and vegetables at the eatery in Kunshan, which opened last week.

"My daughter asked me to invent a robot because she doesn't like doing housework," the restaurant's founder Song Yugang told AFP.

A robot cooks vegetables in a kitchen of
 a restaurant in Kunshan on August 13,
2014 (AFP Photo/Johannes Eisele)
Two robots are stationed by the door to cheerfully greet customers, while four short but humanoid machines carry trays of food to the tables.

In the kitchen, two large blue robots with glowing red eyes specialise in frying, while another is dedicated to making dumplings.

Song told the local Modern Times newspaper that each robot costs around 40,000 yuan ($6,500) -- roughly equal to the annual salary of a human employee.

"The robots can understand 40 everyday sentences. They can't get sick or ask for vacation. After charging up for two hours they can work for five hours," he added.

The restaurant, in the eastern province of Jiangsu, follows in the tracks of another robotic eatery which opened in the northeastern city of Harbin in 2012.

Rising labour costs in China have encouraged manufacturers to turn to automation, and the country last year surpassed Japan to become the world's biggest consumer of industrial robots.

The cooking robots -- which have a fixed repertoire -- exhibit limited artificial intelligence, and are loaded with ingredients by human staff, who also help to make some dishes.

A robot carries food to customers in a restaurant in Kunshan on
August 13, 2014 (AFP Photo/Johannes Eisele)

But customers at the restaurant who tucked into fried tomatoes with egg, soup, and rice were thrilled with the experience.

"My children are really excited by the robots," said Yang Limei, a mother of three.

The round-headed waiter robots can only move along fixed paths, and politely ask customers to move out of their way whenever their routes are blocked.

"I've never seen a robot serving food before," said Yuan Yuan, nine. "I'm really surprised."



Uber’s Taxi App Lands in Jakarta

Jakarta Globe, Vanesha Manuturi, Aug 13, 2014

A woman shows the Uber apps on her smartphone in Jakarta,
Wednesday (13/8). JG Photo/Jurnasyanto

Jakarta. Traditional taxi companies in Indonesia may soon face a big shift in the market, as new competition from smartphone-based transportation services like San Francisco’s Uber taps into the insatiable demand for transportation in the world’s fourth-most populated country.

Uber — a software company focusing on transportation services — officially launched its eponymous smartphone application into Indonesia on Wednesday, gunning for the growing middle class population in the capital city Jakarta.

The company, which has established its presence in 43 countries worldwide, had previously arranged a soft launching in Jakarta earlier in June and rolled out its service in the Sudirman Central Business District (SCBD).

“There are currently tens of thousands people who have signed up for Uber. That’s what’s exciting about Jakarta — things go viral very easily,” said Chan Park, Uber’s head of expansion for the Asia-Pacific region, to the Jakarta Globe on Wednesday.

The Uber app assists Indonesian commuters in finding transportation — private driver included ­— through its partnerships with local limo and car rentals, offering brands ranging from Toyota Camry to Hyundai Sonata.

Its base fare currently stands at Rp 7,000 (60 cents), with each additional minute costing Rp 500 and each kilometer Rp 2,850 — placing Uber at par with local taxis.

“You can think of [Uber] like Expedia,” said Park, referring to a travel booking website. “We’ll facilitate the transactions and that transportation experience by connecting driver and transportation provider with the rider, and we provide the app that enables that.”

Uber will be jumping into a competitive market that’s already filled with various public transportation options for the Indonesian middle class, such as taxis and ojeks , or motorcycle taxis.

The company is not the first smartphone-based transportation service to break through the Indonesian market. Brazil’s Easy Taxi and Malaysia’s Grab Taxi — both of which allow customers to hail a taxi from their smart phones — had already launched their services in the capital in June and April respectively.

Mixed reactions

The presence of Uber and other similar transportation apps in Jakarta has so far been met with a variety of responses by prominent business figures and taxi companies in the area.

Teguh Wijayanto, head of public relations at Blue Bird Group, the country’s largest taxi operator, said new competition is not unusual, adding that the company had already anticipated the growing use of smartphones among Indonesians with the launch of its own Blue Bird smartphone application back in 2011.

“Competition is something that’s expected and is needed … As long as the company continues to push for the best services, it’s in the public’s hands,” Teguh said.

Sandiaga Uno, an Indonesian businessman and the country’s 45th wealthiest person according to Globe Asia’s 150 Richest Indonesian list, echoed Teguh’s sentiments, noting that tighter competition from Uber and other similar transportation-related smartphone apps will eventually lead to better service for customers as traditional transportation providers work toward improving themselves.

“The prospect looks good for Uber in Jakarta with the increasing demand for more innovative modes of transportation from the country’s fast-growing and highly mobile middle class,” Sandiaga said on Tuesday.

Sandiaga is also advocating the use of the smartphone app.

In contrast, some remain skeptical as Uber’s business model remains unclear against Indonesia’s regulatory backdrop.

Daniel Podiman, president director of taxi operator Express Transindo Utama, said that Express, along with the Organization of Land Transport Operators (Organda), is currently reviewing how Uber’s business model fits into the country’s public transportation scene.

“We’re waiting for more clarity on the issue … Something that’s new will always be assessed and examined. But if it goes against regulation, then something must be done,” Daniel said.

Regulatory pushbacks are not new to Uber, considering its history of numerous legal hurdles in some countries. Uber has faced lawsuits from taxi companies in Chicago, San Francisco and Washington DC. Reuters recently reported that Hamburg, Germany and Seoul, South Korea is seeking to ban Uber’s operations in the area.

However, Park said that the company has not yet been approached by regulators in Indonesia.

“How will the regulators react? I’m not sure. I haven’t heard anything from them,” Park said. “But we’re not trying to come in and cannibalize [the market]. We’re trying to provide an alternative.”

Google partners with Chinese telecoms on Pacific cable

Want ChinaTimes, Staff Reporter 2014-08-13

A Google conference held in Beijing in May this year. (Photo/CFP)

Google is partnering with telecom operators and communications companies from five countries, including China Mobile and China Telecom, to lay a US$300 million undersea cable network across the Pacific Ocean. The network will be extended to other Asian countries in the future.

The international units of the two Chinese companies as well as France's Global Transit, Japan's KDDI Corp and Singapore Telecommunication will work with Google on the network, named FASTER. The network will connect major cities along the US west coast including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Portland to the Japanese coastal cities of Chikura and Shima.

The cable will be able to relay information at 60 terabits per second, 10 million times faster than modems, when the network begins providing services in the second quarter of 2016.

This is Google's third undersea cable network after the Unity cable network that the internet giant built in 2008 connecting Japan and the United States. Google has also invested in another cable network connecting Japan to countries in Southeast Asia including the Philippines and Thailand.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Foreign security software ousted from China's procurement list

Want China Times, Xinhua 2014-08-04

Kaspersky products on display during a product launch
in Beijing in 2011. (File photo/Xinhua)

A Chinese government procurement agency has excluded Symantec and Kaspersky, two foreign security software developers, from a security software supplier list.

According to a report from Beijing Youth Daily, all the five antivirus softwares in the list are from China, including Qihoo 360, Venustech, CAJinchen, Beijing Jiangmin and Rising.

China's homegrown technology companies also got the better of their foreign counterparts in the personal computer operating system supplier list, making Microsoft the only foreign brand.

There is no indication whether the move has some connection with China's emphasis on the security of IT products and software after Edward Snowden's leaks about the intelligence gathering project PRISM from the National Security Agency of the United States.

China's State Internet Information Office announced in May that it would start security vetting of major IT products and services for use by national security and public interests.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Mobile Gadgets That Connect to Wi-Fi without a Battery

Simple devices that can link up via Wi-Fi but don’t need batteries could make it easier to spread computing throughout your home.

Air power: This antenna harvests signals from TV, radio, and cellular
transmissions so that small Wi-Fi devices can get by without batteries.

A new breed of mobile wireless device lacks a battery or other energy storage, but it can still send data over Wi-Fi. These prototype gadgets, developed by researchers at the University of Washington, get all the power they need by making use of the Wi-Fi, TV, radio, and cellular signals that are already in the air.

The technology could free engineers to extend the tendrils of the Internet and computers into corners of the world they don’t currently reach. Battery-free devices that can communicate could make it much cheaper and easier to widely deploy sensors inside homes to take control of heating and other services.

Smart thermostats on the market today, such as the Nest, are limited by the fact that they can sense temperature only in their immediate location. Putting low-cost, Wi-Fi-capable, and battery-free sensors behind couches and cabinets could provide the detailed data needed to make such thermostats more effective. “You could throw these things wherever you want and never have to think about them again,” says Shyam Gollakota, an assistant professor at the University of Washington who worked on the project.

The battery-free Wi-Fi devices are an upgrade to a design the same group demonstrated last year—those devices could only talk to other devices like themselves (see “Devices Connect with Borrowed TV Signals and Need No Power Source”). Versions were built that could power LEDs, motion detectors, accelerometers, and touch-sensitive buttons.

Adding Wi-Fi capabilities makes the devices more practical. Gollakota hopes to establish a company to commercialize the technology, which should also be applicable to other wireless protocols, such as Zigbee or Bluetooth, that are used in compact devices without access to wired power sources, he says. A paper on the new devices will be presented at the ACM Sigcomm conference in Chicago in August.

Engineers have worked for decades on ways to generate power by harvesting radio signals from the air, a ubiquitous resource thanks to radio, TV, and cellular network transmitters. But although enough energy can be collected that way to run low-powered circuits, the power required to actively transmit data is significantly higher. Harvesting ambient radio waves can collect on the order of tens of microwatts of power. But sending data over Wi-Fi requires at least tens of thousands of times more power—hundreds of milliwatts at best and typically around one watt of power, says Gollakota.

The Washington researchers got around that challenge by finding a way to have the devices communicate without having to actively transmit. Their devices send messages by scattering signals from other sources—they recycle existing radio waves instead of expending energy to generate their own.

To send data to a smartphone, for example, one of the new prototypes switches its antenna back and forth between modes that absorb and reflect the signal from a nearby Wi-Fi router. Software installed on the phone allows it to read that signal by observing the changing strength of the signal it detects from that same router as the battery-free device soaks some of it up.

The battery-free Wi-Fi devices can’t harvest enough energy to receive and decode Wi-Fi signals in the conventional way. But they can detect the presence of the individual units, or “packets,” that make up a Wi-Fi transmission. To send data to the battery-free device, a conventional Wi-Fi device sends a specific burst of packets that lets the receiving device know it should listen for a transmission. The data is then is encoded in a stream of further packets with gaps interspersed between them. Each packet signals a 1 and each gap a 0 of the digital message.

Ranveer Chandra, a senior researcher in mobile computing at Microsoft Research, says the technology could help accelerate dreams of being able to deploy cheap, networked devices that have been slow to arrive. “Given the prevalence of Wi-Fi, this provides a great way to get low-power Internet of things devices to communicate with a large swath of devices around us,” he says. RFID tags, which also lack batteries, are the closest technology in use today, says Chandra. But they can only communicate with specialized reader devices, he says. The Washington approach fits better with existing infrastructure.

However, increasing the range of the system will be important for it to be widely useful, notes Chandra. The upcoming paper on the technology reports a range of only 65 centimeters, which barely spans a small table, let alone a single room in a house. Gollakota says that in recent, still unpublished experiments, the range has been extended to just over two meters, and 10 meters and beyond should be possible.

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