Department of Defense planners want to know when enemy troops are on the move, when vehicles are approaching or when other potentially hostile activity is unfolding. Existing sensors can regularly detect those movements, but those sensors often have limited battery life, constraining their usefulness and sometimes need to be changed as often as every three days.
Researchers at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) say they are making headway on the problem.
Launched in 2015, the project aims to develop sensors that can function in standby mode, lying almost dormant and switching on only when a signal is captured. Such devices could go for 10 years on a single charge.
The research agency named the project the Near Zero Power RF and Sensor Operations, or N-ZERO.