MIT develops Battery-Free Sensor for Deep-Sea and Extraterrestrial Exploration

By: | October 5th, 2019

Image courtesy MIT

In a big breakthrough, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed battery-free underwater sensors that can work underwater and send back data.

It is revolutionary research. This device could help in monitoring sea temperatures to study climate change and tracking marine life over extended periods.

Science behind:  For making the battery –free sensors, MIT researchers made use of two phenomena: the piezoelectric effect and the backscatter.

  • The piezoelectric effect: piezoelectric effect is for energy generation. It happens when vibrations in certain materials generate an electrical charge. So when the water hits the sensor it vibrates and stores the generated electrical charge.
  • Backscatter: It is for transmitting the data. It involves reflecting wireless binary signals back to a receiver.

Researchers expect in future the system will be used to explore more than the ocean

Fadel Adib, an assistant professor in the MIT Media Lab and Department of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, said, “How can you put a sensor under the water on Titan that lasts for long periods of time in a place that’s difficult to get energy?” “Sensors that communicate without a battery open up possibilities for sensing in extreme environments.”



Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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