Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) hope to explore oceans on our planet — and, potentially, on other worlds — using a network of sensors that can send and receive data without relying on battery power.
By making use of piezoelectric energy and backscatter technology, the sensors can stay submerged beneath the ocean for months as they collect data.
The sensors absorb and store energy when acoustic waves are transmitted towards them. By either reflecting or not reflecting those waves back to the transmitter, the system is able to send a signal.
“Once you have a way to transmit ones and zeroes, you can send any information,” said Assistant Professor Fadel Adib, of the MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
“Basically, we can communicate with underwater sensors based solely on the incoming sound signals whose energy we are harvesting.”
The approach allows researchers to collect data from Internet of Things devices.