Internet of Things devices may soon use light-powered RFID tags

MIT engineers are developing an RFID tag that can be powered by photovoltaic sensors.


NSFW    CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS — Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology have published a study detailing the use of photovoltaic powered sensors on radio-frequency identification, or RFID tags, to power internet of things devices.

Thin film perovskite cells were added onto the RFID tags to function as energy harvesters, according to an MIT news release. These cells are able to power sensors in the RFID tag in sunny and dimmer indoor light conditions.

MIT researchers say the sensors could potentially function for months or even years at a time, depending on the environment's moisture and heat condition.

The scientists explained in the news release that their goal was to create inexpensive internet sensors that would not require the use of batteries or any other outside power source.

The study, published in the journals Advanced Functional Materials and IEEE Sensors, found that the sensors were able to transmit data for extended amounts of time at five times the distance of traditional RFID tags.

This technology could be used to track cargo in supply chains, monitor soil and monitor the amount of energy used by building equipment.

Researcher Ian Matthew from the university's Department of Mechanical Engineering said in the news release that RFID tag prototype was only able to monitor the temperature.

He explained that researchers plan to add more sensors integrated with perovskite cells to the RFID tag to monitor humidity, pressure, vibration and even pollution levels.
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