Microcontroller Uses Radio Waves that Can also be Reprogrammed in Field Using Ambient Energy

On April 26th 2016, Joel Hruska posted an article on Extreme Tech talking about a new type of micro-controller that uses radio waves to operate. This micro-controller can also be reprogrammed while in the field.

There was a team of researchers at University of Washington and a team in TU-Delft in Netherlands that worked together to create a microprocessor. As stated above the microprocessor has the capability to power itself using radio waves that are stray. Not only this, but the microprocessor can use these same stray radio waves to also receive programmable updates.

In terms of specs, the Central Processing Unit is sub par in terms of standards. This CPU is considered a RISC derived 16 bit micro-controller that clocks as barely 16MHZ. However very subpar, this CPU is very efficient for requiring no battery. Although not using a battery, this device uses ambient energy. Because this device uses ambient energy, there is a lot of implications as to what this can mean for the Internet of Things in the near future in terms of research and development.

One question many may ask is how does the micro-controller, a programmable device, only use ambient energy and not use a battery in order to read and write operations?

Here is was Hruska wrote. “The latest iteration of the Texas Instruments MSP430FR5969 offers a solution. This particular chip uses 64KB of FRAM (Ferroelectric RAM) to store data along with 2KB of conventional DRAM. The 64KB of FRAM is critically important because FRAM’s power consumption when writing data is less than 100x than the NAND that earlier WISP devices used.”

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