The high cost comes not just from the radio transmitters needed for systems like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth but also from the batteries they need for power. So Smith and his team set out to build a low-cost communications system that doesn’t need batteries or the energy they provide.
“Today’s radio technologies cost at least $4, making them too expensive for embedding into objects at scale,” says Dr. Joshua Smith, a professor of computer science at the University of Washington in Seattle and a leading expert on wireless systems.
That long-anticipated day is still a ways off, because at this point the Internet of Things might more accurately be described as an Internet of Costly Things.
This so-called “Internet of Things” (IoT) would make possible all manner of transformative technologies, from digital sensors that allow crops to report when they are thirsty or under attack by insects to parking spaces that alert us when they’re available to tiny implants that continuously monitor our health as we go about our lives.
We’re all familiar with the Internet, and the way it connects humans to one another and to vast amounts of data. But computer visionaries foresee the day when not just humans but all our devices are connected to each other via the Internet.