In this paper, wireless sensing of acoustic emission (AE) signals using a battery-free sensor node remotely powered by light is presented. The wireless sensor consists of a piezoelectric wafer active sensor (PWAS) for AE signal acquisition and a wireless transponder that performs signal conditioning, frequency conversion, and wireless transmission. For signal conditioning, a voltage follower that consumes less than 2 mW was introduced to buffer the high impedance of the PWAS from the low impedance of the wireless transponder. A photocell-based energy harvester with a stable voltage output was developed to power the voltage follower so that the wireless AE sensor can operate without an external power source. The principle of operation of the battery-free wireless AE sensor node and the sensor interrogation system is described, followed by a detailed description of the hardware implementation. The voltage follower and the wireless channel were characterized by ultrasound pitch-catch and pencil lead break experiments.