Radio Frequency (RF) Harvesting

Wearable RF power harvesting shirt to power systems from common wireless signals such as WiFi.

ASSIST is developing systems that wirelessly power and charge wearable devices using radio frequency (RF) energy.  One system harvests energy from ambient RF signals commonly available in peoples’ environments. Another system wirelessly transmits power from RF emitters integrated into everyday objects to receivers integrated into novel wearables.

These systems address the challenge of powering wearable devices when users are sedentary, which research indicates is the case ~ 8 hours per day for the average person.  During these periods, there is little opportunity for harvesting power from body motions, but such sedentary periods provide a ready opportunity for passively charging or powering devices through wireless signals. Such solutions could be used to charge smart clothing through WiFi or power smart bandages through hospital beds.

Through this research, ASSIST is developing systems that provide high-efficiency far-field RF power harvesting and near-field RF power transfer. Areas of research include novel designs for high-performance on-textile antennas; power-efficient rectifying circuits; resonators for unobtrusive implementation into textiles and apparel; optimization of near-field structures for integration of smart health solutions (e.g. for smart wound healing monitoring bandages); and development of stand-alone resonant methods using voltage-controlled oscillators.

Learn more about the researchers involved with this project: