June 29, 2009, 11:38 AM — The ZigBee Alliance is working on a standard for products based on the wireless technology that can operate without batteries by harvesting energy from their environment, it said on Monday.
The ZigBee Green Power standard is set to become available to Alliance members by the end of year, for use in sensors and control products, according to the ZigBee Alliance. But the organization didn't say when actual products that run on harvested energy could be announced.
ZigBee is gaining steam as an alternative for networking in smart homes, and can be used to connect wireless devices for monitoring, controlling, and automating energy use to a central unit. ZigBee can also be used for asset tracking.
Energy harvesting devices eliminate the need for batteries by converting energy from their surroundings into electricity. That energy could take the form of vibrations or light, but the most viable option in ZigBee's case would be harvesting energy from ambient radio waves.
That kind of energy harvesting received some attention recently, when it was reported that Nokia is working on a prototype for charging phones using the same technology.