5 Gadgets From Last Week: Electric Sweat, Robot Butler

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to boost the battery life of those small smartwatches and wearables? There are a few researchers that have some interesting theories on how to engineer more energy-efficient devices and maybe even get more juice for your wearable just by exercising.

Research and prototypes are the main theme of this week’s issue. Nothing below is available quite yet, but it gives hope for future innovations and features that may help improve your gadget-filled world.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Reflected Wi-Fi signals

Gadgets are getting smaller, and maintaining a long battery life comes at a premium these days. It’s difficult for a tiny watch to maintain a Wi-Fi connection and have a battery life that extends past a few days. Researchers at UCLA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory may have a solution. By reflecting the signals your wearable sends to your Wi-Fi router, the team used these ambient carrier waves to create a low power way to transmit data. Rather than generating its own signal, the device would just feed off of what’s already bouncing around in the air.

The UCLA team was able to reach data transfer speeds of 3 Mb/s between a signal source and a test device that stood about 8 feet away. The team is hopeful that they can get better range results in the future without compromising speed.