Welcome to the WISP5 Wiki

What is the WISP?

The Wireless Identification and Sensing Platform (WISP) is an open source and fully hackable battery-free platform for experimentation with low-power sensing, computation, and communication. This wiki is a place for users and developers of the WISP to compile resources related to the WISP, to share knowledge, and to collaborate on large-scale projects.

Latest Update

MultiScatter multistatic backscatter hardware (now available open source here).

(a) Custom receiver board mounted on Raspberry Pi

(b) Custom 915MHz 500mW transmitter

(c) Sensor Node

(d) Camera node

(e) Microphone node

A Few Guidelines

  • Check out the wiki sections in the navigation panel. First time users should look at the Getting Started section and also read through the FAQ

  • Source code and design files for the WISP5 are open source: WISP5 Firmware and Hardware

  • Got questions, or running into trouble? Got ideas for future WISP versions? Please email us at mailwisp at gmail dot com

  • The WISP5 is the latest iteration of the WISP. For resources related to the earlier WISP versions, see WISP 4.1, WISP 4.0

  • Looking for the NFC based WISP? The NFC-WISP interfaces with smartphone readers and more! See the NFC-WISP wiki


  • New! MultiScatter design files open sourced. Open source files

  • Compatibility with Impinj R420 readers sold in Asia (R420-GX2). See the 436kHz branch of the WISP5 Firmware Repository to get your WISPs talking to readers not sold in the USA.

  • Energy-optimized firmware stack with support for FM0 modulation and simpler application interface.

  • Read and Write command support out of the box.

  • MSP430FR5969 microcontroller with FRAM non-volatile memory for ultra low energy data storage and retrieval. * ADXL362 accelerometer with ridiculously low power consumption.

  • Coming Soon!

    • WISP 6.0

    • Updated WISP 5.0 firmware to work with Impinj Speedway Revolution R420 UHF RFID Reader (checkout our GitHub page!)

Related Publications

  • Adaptive Wireless Power Transfer and Backscatter Communication for Perpetual Operation of Wireless Brain–Computer Interfaces - Proc. IEEE 110, 2021

  • WHISPER: Wireless Home Identification and Sensing Platform for Energy Reduction - J. Sensor and Actuator Networks 10, 2021

  • MultiScatter: Multistatic Backscatter Networking for Battery-Free Sensors, Sensys 2021 Open source files

  • Battery-Free Camera Occupancy Detection System, EMDL 2021

  • Advances and Open Problems in Backscatter Networking, GetMobile 24, 2021

  • Receiver Selectivity Limits on Bistatic Backscatter Range, IEEE RFID 2020

  • Classifying WLAN Packets from the RF Envelope: Towards More Efficient Wireless Network Performance, EMDL 2020

  • Relacks: Reliable backscatter communication in indoor environments, Proc. IMWUT, 2020

  • Glaze: Overlaying occupied spectrum with downlink IOT transmissions, Proc. IMWUT, 2019

  • Battery-free Video Streaming Camera System - IEEE RFID 2019

  • RF Bandaid: A Fully-Analog and Passive Wireless Interface for Wearable Sensors - Ubicomp 2018

  • RF-powered, Backscatter-based Cameras - EUCAP 2017

  • Fast Downstream to Many (Computational) RFIDs - INFOCOM 2017

  • FM Backscatter: Enabling Connected Cities and Smart Fabrics - NSDI 2017

  • Passive Wi-Fi: Bringing Low Power to Wi-Fi Transmissions - NSDI 2016

  • Inter-Technology Backscatter: Towards Internet Connectivity for Implanted Devices - SIGCOMM 2016

  • Battery-free Connected Machine Vision with WISPCam - GetMobile Magazine 2016

  • WISPCam: An RF-Powered Smart Camera for Machine Vision Applications - ASPLOS HLPC 2016

  • BLISP: Enhancing Backscatter Radio with Active Radio for Computational RFIDs - IEEE RFID 2016

  • uMonitor: In-situ Energy Monitoring with Microwatt Power Consumption - IEEE RFID 2016

  • Wisent: Robust downstream communication and storage for computational RFIDs - INFOCOMM 2016

  • Self-Localizing Battery-free Cameras - Ubicomp 2015

  • NFC-WISP: An Open Source Software Defined Near Field RFID Sensing Platform - Ubicomp 2015

  • WISPCam: A Battery-Free RFID Camera - IEEE RFID 2015

For a more exhaustive list, please see the publications page.

The WISP Platform is supported in part by NSF Grant CNS-1823148,

CRI:CI:SUSTAIN: Next-Generation, Sustainable Infrastructure for the RF-Powered Computing Community


The energy efficiency of microelectronics has been improving exponentially for decades. It is becoming possible to operate low power sensing, computing and communication platforms in a perpetual, battery-free fashion, with all power provided by Radio Frequency (RF) signals or other energy harvesting. The Wireless Identification and Sensing Platform (WISP) is an open source battery-free platform that the present investigators originally introduced in 2006. Hundreds of WISPs have been manufactured and distributed to researchers around the world. This infrastructure has enabled research in diverse areas of computer science, including networking, Human-Computer Interaction, Ubiquitous Computing, Robotics, and other areas. The present proposal will allow the researchers to integrate the latest research results, such as Ambient Backscatter Communication, into the WISP family, and also to reap the benefits of the most recent improvements in low power microelectronics. The proposal will allow us to produce a new generation of the infrastructure and mature it to the point that it becomes self sustaining, via sales of hardware or other means. We expect that the sustained infrastructure will support research in backscatter communication, low power systems and networking, and applications of ultra-low-power platforms. Battery-free sensing systems are expected to enable a wide array of new capabilities, which will generate substantial commercial impact in a wide variety of markets.

Computing is becoming connected more and more deeply to the physical world, a transformation that can enable smart environments, better medical care, more efficient manufacturing, and more. However, the need to power physically embedded microelectronic systems is a key challenge. This project will allow us to sustain the WISP infrastructure for battery-free, RF-powered computing and communication. The infrastructure will enable research in several areas. In recent years, the PI and co-PI introduced Ambient Backscatter Communication, and backscatter-based WISP cameras, which have been widely recognized in the research community. Making these tools widely available will enable research on topics such as (ambient) backscatter networking, applications of battery-free cameras, and algorithms for interactive compression and computer vision in battery-free camera systems. This research would likely remain inaccessible for a long time to many computer and information science and engineering researchers, since there are no widely accessible platforms that support research on these topics. The sustained infrastructure will also enable novel application research, in areas such as improved human activity detection systems, battery-free input devices, and also research on body-implanted electronics, and long term structural health monitoring.


PI: Joshua R. Smith

Co-PI: Shyam Gollakota

Graduate Students who contributed to this project: Ali Saffari, Mehrdad Hessar, Zerina Kapetanovic, Bandhav Veluri, Vikram Iyer, Brody Mahoney, Jared Nakahara, Boling Yang


Michael Taylor, Matt Reynolds, Chet Moritz

Educational Activities

CSE 490W Introduction to Wireless Communication (for CSE undergraduates), Smith

CSE 590Y Mobile and Wireless Systems (for CSE graduates), Gollakota

Broader Impacts & Broadening Participation

A high school student (name withheld for privacy) is contributing to the project.

A book on this research by the PI and Co-PI is in progress. We have published this vision paper to help guide the development of the field: Advances and Open Problems in Backscatter Networking, V Talla, J Smith, S Gollakota, GetMobile: Mobile Computing and CommunicationsVolume 24Issue 4, December 2020 pp 32–38 https://doi.org/10.1145/3457356.3457367