A recent study is already projecting the development of 6G, which, in contrast to earlier technology, may eventually employ people as antennae, despite the fact that the global adoption of 5G wireless technology is just beginning.
Particularly for 6G communications, Visible Light Communication (VLC), a wireless alternative to fiberoptics, may be useful. Currently, extremely thin glass or plastic strands are used in fiber optics to transfer data from light flashes. These wires are extremely delicate and extremely small.
Using the body as an antenna, the UMass Amherst team claims to have developed a novel, low-cost strategy for capturing VLC waste energy. Their technology, which recycles waste energy, can power wearable and possibly larger electronics.
According to a press release from the university, Jie Xiong, a professor of information and computer sciences at UMass Amherst, “VLC is quite simple and interesting.” It uses LEDs, which can turn on and off up to one million times per second, rather than radio signals, to send information wirelessly.
VLC is so appealing for the future of wireless technologies because it already has the infrastructure to be used. As a result of current technology and smart devices, LED bulbs are lighting our homes, cars, streetlights, and businesses, and they may also be transmitting data.
Xiong said, “The receiver could be anything with a camera, like our smartphones, tablets, or laptops.”
The team found that VLC systems suffer from a significant energy “leakage” because LEDs produce “side-channel RF signals,” also known as radio waves. This RF energy can be utilized if researchers are able to capture it.
To make this a reality, they made an antenna out of copper wire coils to catch RF leaks. The most important question that comes up next is what kind of object will hold this energy the best.
The researchers experimented with various wire surfaces and thicknesses. After laying the coil against switches on and off on phones and other digital devices as well as plastic, cardboard, wood, and steel, first author Minhao Cui attempted to wrap it around a human body.
The findings indicate that the most effective media for increasing the coil’s capacity to absorb RF energy are individuals. When the coil was used by itself, up to ten times more energy was collected than when it was attached to a person.
The “Bracelet+,” a low-cost wearable that can be worn on the upper forearm, was developed by the researchers in response to these findings. The study’s authors noted that a bracelet can be altered to function as a ring, belt, anklet, or necklace, despite the fact that it appears to be the most effective tool for gaining power.
According to the study’s authors, “the design is cheap,” costing less than fifty cents. However, Bracelet+ can reach up to microwatts, which is sufficient to support numerous sensors like on-body health monitoring sensors, which require little power to operate due to their long sleep-mode duration and low sampling frequency.
Xiong came to the conclusion that “in the end, we want to be able to harvest waste energy from all sorts of sources in order to power future technology.”
Source: The News