Tokyo Tech team creates a device for simultaneous transmission of power and 5G signal

As 5G networks start coming online, there is an expected associated increase in the scale of the Internet of Things network. With so many devices on the network, there is a growing need to make wirelessly powered devices that can work with 5G signals. The production of such devices has faced the same hurdles that a lot of wirelessly powered devices face—short transmission distances and a fixed direction from which power can be received.

A team of scientists from Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech), led by Associate Professor Atsushi Shirane, has reported the production of a wirelessly powered transmitter-receiver for 5G networks that overcomes both of these problems. Their findings were presented during the 2022 IEEE Symposium on VLSI Technology & Circuits.


Prototype of a 64-element millimeter-wave band phased-array transceiver and integrated circuit This could serve as the prototype for the transceiver.

The millimeter-wave wireless power transfer system is a promising solution for massive Internet of Things, yet it has been hampered by technical problems. We were thus able to make a breakthrough by producing a 5G transceiver with high efficiency at big angles and distances.

—Dr. Shirane

The transmitter-receiver produced by the team is the first of its kind. The device has two modes: receiving and transmitting. In the receiving mode, the device receives a 5G signal and a millimeter-wave power signal. This power signal activates the device and provides it with power. The device then enters the transmission mode and sends a 5G signal back in the same direction from which it initially received one.

Thus, a device like this can easily communicate and be part of the Internet of Things without needing a separate plug point, unlike most current indoor Internet of Things devices. The device can generate power over a wide span of angles and distances and, thus, does not suffer from the challenges faced by previous wirelessly powered devices.


Higher power generation at longer distances
The graph demonstrates that how, as the beam steering increases from 0° to 45° during wireless power transmission, the present device can continue to generate 46% power—a much higher percentage than previous devices which would degrade to a few percent—while achieving more than twice the distance achieved by older devices.


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