Batteries be damned!
Engineers from Delft University of Technology, together with colleagues from the University of Washington, have developed a very special computer chip; one that does not need a battery or an external power source to operate, The chip, or the Wireless Identification and Sensing Platform (WISP - cool acronym, lads), instead draws power from radio waves that it sucks out of the air, allowing it to operate completely independently.
As well as happily running itself without a need for power, WISP can also be programmed wirelessly too, meaning that the (currently small) processor can be reprogrammed to perform different tasks without having to retrieve the chip. WISPs could therefore be embedded in other technologies, such as smart home devices, and left there to take care of themselves, until a new function is imposed upon them.
This is exciting news as it could revolutionise what in our home can be connected to the Internet-of-Things, as chips such as this could be installed in just about anything. We're hoping for 'smart shoes' which warn us when our foot odour is becoming just a bit too overpowering.
One day, eh?