Extending Battery Life for Mobile Devices With Radio Technology

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Figure 1: Wearable-fitness-devices

University of Massachusetts Amherst is currently testing a radio prototype that will permit the small mobile devices like fitness trackers and smartwatches. These devices will be able to take benefit of battery power inside large sized devices that are in their close vicinity for communication. Professor Deepak Ganeshan from this University who is also working on this project explains that, “We take for granted the ability to offload storage and computation from our relatively limited personal computers to the resource-rich cloud. In the same vein, it makes sense that devices should also be able to offload how much power they consume for communication to devices that have more energy. For example, the battery on your smartwatch could survive longer by using the higher battery level on your smartphone."

In order to accomplish this, the Amherst team embellished the most commonly used radio technology, the Bluetooth, with an amazing ability to work in a familiar manner to radio-frequency identification (RFID) that works in an asymmetrical manner. It means the reader takes on most of the responsibility of work and pays off the major energy cost of communication, the tag embedded in the mini device or the object is highly power efficient.


Figure 2: Radio technology watches allow small mobile devices extend battery life

The technology called as the Braidio is actually a ‘braid of radios’ that operates like the ideal Bluetooth radio as and when a device comes up with enough energy. However when the energy is low it acts more like a RFID transferring the energy usage to a device that has larger battery as and when needed. So, when you equip a smartwatch and a smartphone with a Braidio, these work in sync with each other and share their respective energy for communication.

Pan Hu, the graduate student here further adds that close screening of Braidio shows that when a device with small battery transmits to another device with a larger battery, it is capable of offering some 400 times longer battery life as compared to Bluetooth because the battery life of smaller device is conserved efficiently. The makers of this technology believe that  Braidio will support a new way of thinking with respect to wearable and mobile devices. He says that, “Wearable devices are often bulky due to large batteries needed for adequate battery life. Perhaps such energy offload techniques can reverse this trend and enable thinner and lighter devices."