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Energy-Free Communication gives wings to connected objects

Orange is implementing a brand new technology capable of connecting objects with no wires or battery, using only ambient radio frequency waves. Dinh Thuy Phan Huy, a research engineer at Orange, explains.

It’s a technological breakthrough, destined to transform our everyday lives. Inspired by the RFID tag, in 2013 the University of Washington in the United States discovered “wireless communications out of thin air”. A process enabling the connection of objects with no wires or battery, and without emitting a single extra wave, which amounts to producing Energy-Free Communication.

Dinh Thuy Phan Huy, a research engineer at Orange, describes this physical principle that enables the exploitation of ambient radio frequency (RF) waves (Wifi, TV FM broadcast, cellular…) – nearly as freely available as the air that we breathe – in order to transmit a message between a tag (which doesn’t emit anything) and a reader (which doesn’t emit anything either).

During the 2017 edition of the Orange Salon de la Recherche, from 5 to 7 December, for the first time, she and her team produced a transmission carried out using only the waves already being broadcast by … the Eiffel Tower!

This technology of exceptional energy sobriety that provides new services without spending more on spectrum and on radiated power, offers considerable opportunities in terms of mass use of connected objects for smart cities, homes, and factories.

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