Israel-based semiconductor company Wiliot demonstrated a first-of-its-kind Bluetooth chip at the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual retail expo.
The chip is paper-thin and about the size of a postage stamp. It can sense weight and temperature and is able to send encrypted information via Bluetooth a distance of about 3 meters. Rather than using some sort of battery to power this operation, the chip pulls energy from ambient Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular signals.
A Wiliot chip glued to a simple antenna printed on plastic or paper can authenticate the proximity of a product by transmitting an encrypted serial number along with weight and temperature data from a device the size of a postage stamp.
Eliminating most of the components associated with traditional Bluetooth, these tags lower sale and maintenance costs to previously unachievable levels. The tags use Wiliot’s breakthrough in nanowatt computing to communicate with any device enabled by Bluetooth Low Energy, such as smartphones, Wi-Fi access points and Internet of Things (IoT) devices that can connect to digital displays, Wi-Fi and LTE cellular networks.
Following the NRF demonstration, Wiliot announced that it had raised an additional $30 million in funding, with tech powerhouses Amazon and Samsung both investing.
Re-cycling the radiation around us to power sticker-size sensors can enable new ways for consumers to interact with products that were previously not feasible.
With this technology the Internet of Things can fully take hold as Wiliot has figured out a cheap and versatile way to give all the objects the ability to communicate out of thin air thus making them smarter.
Reference-Futurism, Wiliot website, The Verge website