Updated 2:12 PM EST, Wed, Jan 29, 2020

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New Mini-Radio Could Make 'Internet of Things' Happen


(Photo : Wikimedia Commons) The Internet of Things

A minute radio is being touted as the device that will help create the network vital to realizing the "Internet of Things" or IoT.

The Internet of Things refers to the interconnection of uniquely identifiable embedded computing-like devices within the existing Internet infrastructure. It's expected to connect the billions of stand-along devices powered by electronic chips into one massive network.

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The future of smart homes will need household devices that communicate with each other as well as the Internet, said tech website Digital Trends. As technologies such as the mini-radio become lighter and cheaper to produce, it can be made to fit into more smart devices.

The developers of the new tech hope the ant-sized radio can help advance the innovation in smart hardware and wearables for consumers.

Everything on the chip, which a team from Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley had begun working on back in 2011, was redesigned from scratch to reduce the its size and power it consumed.

Its antenna, for example, is only one-tenth of the size of a usual Wi-Fi antenna.

"The next exponential growth in connectivity will be connecting objects together and giving us remote control through the Web," said Amin Arbabian, who recently demonstrated the abilities of the chip at an exhibition in Hawaii.

"How do you put a bi-directional wireless control system on every light bulb? By putting all the essential elements of a radio on a single chip that costs pennies to make."

French-Italian electronics manufacturer STMicroelectronics has already built a hundred of the radios-on-a-chip.

Arbabian, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Stanford, said he sees the devices eventually embedded in household appliances, as well as the home's infrastructure.

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