Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Computer Science

Committee Chair/Advisor

Jacob Sorber

Committee Member

Amy Apon

Committee Member

Long Cheng

Committee Member

Mert Pese


Battery-free devices have emerged as a promising solution for creating sustainable, cost-effective, and low-maintenance wireless sensor networks that can operate for decades without needing costly and environmentally hazardous battery replacements. Powered by renewable energy sources like solar, thermal, or kinetic, battery-free devices can support various sensing applications such as active volcano monitoring, smart farming, healthcare, and wildlife tracking. However, the sporadic nature of energy harvesting, coupled with the inherent resource constraints of these devices, presents significant challenges for designing and networking batteryless devices reliably, whether in single-hop or multi-hop scenarios. Furthermore, their intermittent execution model, characterized by periods of active computation interrupted by frequent and unpredictable power failures, complicates accurate timekeeping and network synchronization and degrades overall network performance significantly. For a network of intermittent battery-free sensors to be useful in supporting real-world wireless sensing applications, it must address critical challenges relating to network state inconsistency, expensive wireless communication and control packets, network synchronization and routing issues, and so on.

This dissertation lays the foundation for developing reliable, scalable, and efficient cross-layer protocols suitable for networking intermittently-powered batteryless devices using wireless mediums like Radio Frequency (RF) and visible light. In this dissertation, we outline and discuss our fundamental contributions to the state-of-the-art, which include the design and implementation of a new low-power wireless communication protocol that provides robust and energy-efficient mechanisms for networking a one-hop deployment of intermittent battery-free sensors. Additionally, we present a cross-layer extension capable of supporting multi-hop data forwarding across a network of batteryless sensors in a hierarchical and opportunistic fashion. Finally, we present a wireless networking approach that explores the potential and challenges of using visible light to cheaply communicate data to a network of batteryless sensors in the wild instead of the expensive RF alternative.

Author ORCID Identifier


Available for download on Tuesday, December 31, 2024