No more batteries for IoT devices? Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s ATHENA lab discuss an innovative way to harness the overcapacity of 5G networks, turning them into “a wireless power grid” to power Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Here you can find the link to the scientific paper on the topic.

5G: the future of connectivity

The next generation of wireless technology has arrived and it is called 5G. This revolutionary new network promises to offer faster speeds, lower latency and greater capacity than ever before. With 5G, it will be possible to download movies in seconds, stream high-definition video without buffering, and connect more devices to the Internet than ever before. And this is just the beginning. In this article we will take a closer look at 5G, how it works, and its implications for the future of technology. So sit back, grab a cup of coffee and get ready to learn about the exciting world of 5G.

The discovery

Researchers from the renowned Georgia Tech have reportedly made a breakthrough discovery in the field of 5G technology. They claim to have developed a system capable of guiding and harnessing the energy from densely packed 5G waves towards various devices, including those constituting the ever-growing Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem. This surplus energy from 5G networks has the potential to be converted into “a wireless power grid,” as described by Manos Tentzeris, a professor of electromagnetics at Georgia Tech who spearheaded the research initiative.

The prolific energy density associated with 5G transmission presents a significant amount of dormant energy, most of which remains underutilized. To mitigate this, the project saw the creation of a unique antenna system specifically designed to harvest this surplus energy. The innovation achieved by the Georgia Tech team not only ensures more efficient usage of 5G energy but also empowers devices to function independently of batteries.

Because 5G networks are designed for high-bandwidth connections, they possess the capability to aggregate energy in a much denser manner compared to 4G networks. This feature implies that the high-frequency network will house a substantial amount of residual energy. Without an adequate “harvesting” mechanism, this potential power resource would simply dissipate, hence rendering it wasted.

The energy harnessed could bring about a transformational change in powering various battery-dependent devices omnipresent in our lives. This energy can fuel the plethora of sensors that constitute the IoT infrastructure, present everywhere from our homes and cities to autonomous vehicles. It could even support wearable electronic devices that monitor bodily conditions, integrating seamlessly into our biological framework. This innovation could revolutionize how we utilize and manage energy in an increasingly digitally connected world.

How does it work?

The innovation leverages a Rotman lens-based rectifying antenna capable of collecting millimeter waves at 28 GHz. The innovation could help eliminate dependence on batteries for charging devices by providing an alternative using excess 5G capacity.

Unknowingly, the architects of 5G have created a wireless power grid capable of powering devices at a range far beyond the capabilities of existing technologies. Will scientists and engineers be able to industrialize this discovery?

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