While most batteries are relatively small, when consolidated from everyone in the world, they still rake up tons of waste. Eliminating them will not only save the environment but also, OPPO believes that it can make IoT devices become smaller, more durable, and cheaper.
OPPO Research Institute’s “Zero-Power Communication” white paper essentially wants to eliminate the use of batteries on small gadgets and other tech that can find an alternative power source.
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As per the press release, the zero-power communications tech will not use batteries as it will rely on harvested ambient radiofrequency energy to generate energy.
Like in smartphones, batteries consist about half of the device’s weight and size. Without it, tech products will be more compact, efficient, and low-cost. OPPO sees such products to have benefits in warehousing, agriculture, logistics, and of course, wearables, smart homes, and more.
As per OPPO, thanks to the likes of 5G, it looks like data transmission is not a big driver in telco technology. Instead, the industry should focus on coming up with innovations that would improve convenience and sustainability. That includes the removal of batteries, as well as reducing cost and environmental impact.
As per OPPO, zero-power devices can gain ambient radio signals broadcast from TV powers, FM radio towers, cellular base stations, and WiFI access points.
After harvesting the energy from existing radio waves, the device can modulate ambient radio signals with its own information and transmit these signals outwards in a process known as backscattering communication. When designing Zero-Power Communication networks, it is necessary to consider the coexistence of Zero-Power communication systems and existing 4G/5G systems apart from unlicensed and licensed bands.
The zero-power communications systems can be built in a framework that utilizes sidelink communications, cellular comms, or both in hybrid. Such tech can be used to support industrial sensor network applications.
OPPO said they’ve already tested out the technology to show the feasibility of the concept. The Chinese company is also promoting the use of the technology by showing its research projects to the 3GPP and showing its findings in conferences like FuTURE and ICCC.
You can check the OPPO Zero-Power communication white paper here.