Whether you're tracking your steps, monitoring your health, or sending photos from a smart watch, you want the battery life of your wearable device to last as long as possible. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is working on microchips for wearable devices that reflect wireless signals instead of using regular transmitters and receivers. Their solution transmits information up to three times faster than regular Wi-Fi.
This simple switch mechanism uses very little power and allows for the fast transfer of information between a wearable device and a computer, smart phone, tablet, or other technology capable of receiving the data. The team developed a wireless silicon chip that constantly senses and suppresses background reflections, enabling the Wi-Fi signal to be transmitted without interference from surrounding objects. A base station and Wi-Fi service are still required for the system to work. To compensate for the low power drain on the wearable device, the computer or other technology it's communicating with must have a long battery life or be plugged in.