In this modern age, where mobile phone usage is rampant, anyone can understand the struggle of having their device die while in the middle of an important call or not being able to recharge the battery because the charging cable has stopped working. A battery-free cellphone might just be the solution, and that’s exactly what the researchers at the University of Washington have developed.
According to UW Today’s report, scientists have come up with a prototype that does not require a battery. This could be an important breakthrough in the world of mobile phones and chargers. Instead of relying on power, the device depends on ambient radio signals or light to fully function.
The prototype does not work similarly to a standard mobile phone, but lead author Vamsi Talla believes there’s a lot of potential in a battery-free cellphone, CBC reported. This technology could produce a phone that lasts longer than usual because it does not depend on the battery life. It’s also useful in situations where charging a phone is difficult. The primary benefit of a battery-free mobile device is its ability to make a call, even without power.
The researchers had to make a phone from scratch, as standard phones consume too much power if modified to function without its battery. The team of computer scientists at UW eliminated the step that consumes so much energy in today’s cellular transmissions — converting analog sound signals to digital data. Basically, the project involved re-engineering the way a standard phone would operate to lower its power consumption.
Scientists harnessed the tiny vibrations in a mobile phone’s speaker or microphone that are produced when listening to a call or when a person is talking. These vibrations will be converted into analog signals that will be transmitted to a customized base, which is then responsible for sending back the message to the call recipient. Talla explained that the customized base could be integrated into existing phone towers or possibly Wi-Fi routers.
The team has already tested the prototype to work successfully using Skype to make calls.
Although it would be great to have a battery-free cellphone and not worry about charger cables and dying phones, Talla admits that the prototype will not replace smartphones anytime soon. The current prototype only has basic functions, in which it can only be used for talking and listening.
“It’s very unlikely you’ll be making battery-free calls all the time. But I expect if your battery is low or your phone is dead then it’s a good fail-safe mode to have where at least you can be guaranteed some options.”
Details of this new technology can be found in the paper, “Proceedings of the Association for Computing Machinery on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies.”
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