Ambient Backscatter

What Does Ambient Backscatter Mean?

Ambient backscatter is a new idea related to the use of radio waves and connectivity that posits a device's ability to send and receive signals without inherent power. It has the potential to greatly redefine the Internet of Things (IoT) landscape and change wireless technology in a big way.


Techopedia Explains Ambient Backscatter

Although it may sound like something that happens when water escapes the kitchen sink, ambient backscatter is actually a subtle term with some amazing potential for the future of technology.

In an ambient backscatter setup, the device uses an antenna to send and receive signals, and in the words of experts, translates some of these radio waves into available energy. That means the device will no longer need a cord or batteries, or any internal energy source. As industry insiders point out, this will allow for lighter and cheaper designs for small Internet of Things edge devices.

In general, an ambient backscatter model could make all sorts of conventionally powered consumer products obsolete. For example, if the aggregated energy was enough to even illuminate a small LED light, that has enormous ramifications for the manufacturing sector.

Ambient backscatter is a new idea with a lot of technicals to interpret, but essentially, it builds on the idea of wireless charging and the ability of radio waves, especially at certain frequencies, to achieve new roles in automating and enhancing wireless connectivity.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…