According to the video, the goal is for the backscattered signal to interact with wifi receivers, unless I'm misunderstanding something.
At some point, the difference between a "wifi receiver" and "RF receivers, including wifi" is splitting hairs, yeah?
Like, I understand that wifi is a specific protocol that uses a spectrum shared by lots of other devices, and that without the ability to generate more complex signals it won't actually be "wifi" but if a standard wifi radio can receive these signals and be made to understand them, wants the point of the pedantry?
If I get a box talking RS232 to a host with wifi, I can claim it talks to "signal receivers including wifi". It's not speaking wifi. The host is speaking wifi. Using that specific awkward wording was a big tell to me.
I mean, it's very cool stuff, but it's not things without electronics speaking wifi.
I haven't read the paper yet, so I can't speak to the specifics beyond what they included in the web page and their powerpoint.
The website says "Our goal is to 3D print wireless sensors, input widgets and objects that can communicate with smartphones and other Wi-Fi devices, without the need for batteries or electronics."
Now, based on my understanding of how wifi works, they would need direct control of the radio, and to write a custom driver in order for the data their devices produce to be readable by a smartphone.
It wouldn't technically happen over wifi, but to an end user the difference wouldn't matter.
@kurtm @Thib In the situation you're describing, there is a receiver other than the smartphone sitting between the device producing the signal and the wifi receiver that would receive and interpret the signal, and send the results out over wifi.
At some point, I'll actually read the paper and verify.
The neat thing here is that they are generating the signal without electronic components or electricity.
3D printing a sensor that can passively communicate is a big deal.
There's a wifi transmitter, and wifi receiver, and between them, the sensor.
The sensor modulates the wifi signal passing between the wifi devices.
The differences between the unmodulated signal and the modulated signal are decoded by a device at the receiving end.
They go in to the details in section 3.2 of the paper.
This is a small personal instance running on a couple small ARM servers at home.