© Pixabay Electronics Production | January 17, 2019
Wiliot Scores Funding for Battery-Free Bluetooth Sensor Tags
On the heels of its recent demonstration of the sticker-sized Bluetooth sensor tag incorporating an ARM processor powered solely by scavenging energy from ambient radio frequencies, fabless semiconductor company Wiliot has raised USD 30 million in a series B round of funding with Amazon Web Services (AWS) Investment Arm, Samsung Venture Investment Corp. and Avery Dennison.
This Series B adds to the initial strategic funding by Norwest Venture Partners, 83North, Grove Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures, and M Ventures, bringing the total raised overall to USD 50 million. Using nanowatt computing, the sensor tags communicate with any device enabled by Bluetooth Low Energy, a sibling to Bluetooth, introduced in 2011 for use in applications that do not need to exchange large amounts of data, such as smartphones, Wi-Fi access points and IoT devices that can connect to digital displays, Wi-Fi and LTE cellular networks. A Wiliot chip glued to a simple antenna printed on plastic or paper can authenticate the proximity of a product by transmitting an encrypted serial number along with weight and temperature data from a device the size of a postage stamp. Eliminating most of the components associated with traditional Bluetooth, these tags significantly lower sale and maintenance costs. Wiliot CEO and Co-Founder Tal Tamir said, “Re-cycling the radiation around us to power sticker-size sensors can enable new ways for consumers to interact with products that were previously not feasible. Products can share when they are picked up, their temperature, or when they need to be replenished. Without batteries or other high-cost components, tags have unlimited power and lifespan, so can be embedded inside of products that were previously unconnected to the Internet of Things.” Real-life applications for Wiliot tags include: • In the production phase, Bluetooth tags embedded in consumer goods will allow real-time tracking through the manufacturing process, to the warehouse and from the store to the end-consumer—all while being sensed for critical information. • At the retail level, the Wiliot transponder can overcome the limits of human-readable product information on tags or packaging, unlocking interactive engagement through the consumer's own phone or displays. • At home, consumers can communicate with their products to get instructions and reminders of when and how to use them, and tag-enabled containers can automatically reorder themselves when empty. • Valuable products can be tracked in case they are lost or stolen without having to add a dongle with limited battery life. • Clothing with Wiliot tags can communicate with washing machines to ensure whites never turn pink. Wiliot is a two-year old fabless semiconductor company with business development headquarters in San Diego and R&D team in Israel.