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Wisent protocol makes battery-free computers reprogrammable and a whole lot smarter

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The WISP project has been making battery-free electronics, which work wirelessly by harvesting power from ambient radio waves, a reality for a while now. This is great for embedded electronics which can send off a beacon, monitor the environment, and do other cool IoT-type things. The problem has been updating these things with new software and functionality — intermittent power is okay for broadcasting, but it's been too unreliable for receiving.

So here comes the Wisent protocol to save the day. It works by "adaptively chang[ing] the frame length sent by the reader, based on the length throttling mechanism, to minimize the transfer times at varying channel conditions." See? Simple. Basically, it allows much more data to be sent to the exact same hardware, which opens up many more applications for WISP tech.

Fast Company reports that these battery-free devices could be embedded in structures, used for health applications, or even work as a backup to send an emergency message when your phone's dead.