Sensors sprinkled throughout the home beam information at a set frequency. Wiring wrapped around the sensor acts as a broadcast antenna. The home's electrical wiring acts as the receiving antenna (Image: Gabe Cohn)
Smart homes of the future will automatically adapt to their surroundings using an array of sensors to record everything from the building’s temperature and humidity to the light level and air quality. One hurdle impeding the development of such intelligent homes is the fact that existing technology is still power hungry and today’s wireless devices either transmit a signal only several feet, or consume so much energy they need frequent battery replacements. Researchers have now developed sensors that run on extremely low power thanks to using a home’s electrical wiring as a giant antenna to transmit information.