Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology located in Netherlands have developed the smallest temperature sensor in the world, which is powered from the radio waves that are part of the sensor’s wireless network.
The researchers said that because the small device doesn’t need any batteries and that it measures just 2 square millimeters and weighs only 1.6 milligrams -which is equivalent to a grain of sand-, it could be mixed with paint or construction materials, making an important advance in the development of intelligent buildings.
“The smart buildings of the future will be full of sensors that will respond to the residents’ every need, and will be as sustainable as possible. Like heating and lighting that only switches on when someone is in the room,” the University says.
The current version of the sensor has a range of 2.5 centimeters. However, researchers will strive to improve and expand it until they can reach a meter in the next year, expecting even to reach the five meters.
According to the researchers, the sensor is developed in a very special way, since the sensor has a small antenna that captures the energy from the signals transmitted by the router. Once it’s charged, the sensor switches on, measures the temperature, and then transmits a small signal for the router. The frequency of the transmitted signal relates to the measured temperature.
The scientists established that the development of intelligent buildings is a very effective project with these sensors because of its low cost, noting that mass production of the device would cost about 20 cents, and that as each sensor operates on a “slightly distinctive” frequency, a number of these sensors, measuring everything from light to movement to humidity, can be powered by a single wireless router.