Self-Powering Smartphones – Phones To Be Equipped With Technology That Harvests Power From Radio Waves

Your smartphone will soon harvest power by tapping into its own radio waves. Researchers have recently been able to shrink the technology.

The one greatest worry, besides losing signal, is the ability of your smartphone’s battery to survive throughout the day. The feeling of anxiety is all too familiar today. Fortunately, a team from Ohio State University in the U.S. has come up with an unusual but highly consistent source of extra power – radio waves that your phone emits regularly, and the technology looks immensely promising.

In test conditions, researchers were able to boost battery life by as much as 30 percent. Interestingly, the technology to harvest power from ambient electromagnetic energy sources (such as radio waves), already exists. However, they have always been bulky and had a very limited scope. After all, these devices had to be very large to capture radio waves which do not have much power to begin with and are scattered.

Fortunately for us, the radio waves that are needed to be captured are very much in close proximity to the device, which can capture them as soon as they are emitted. This ensures that energy loss is minimal and the radio waves are quite concentrated to draw sufficient power to make a substantial difference to battery life.

Whenever a smartphone is looking for a cell-tower or a Wi-Fi network to latch onto, it emits a large, albeit safe, amount of signal in all directions. By doing this, the phone is “wasting” a lot of power. This new device makes use of these redundant radio waves. Essentially, the device is tapping into the radio waves, which are nothing but a high-frequency form of alternating current and converting the same into DC power, which can be used to recharge the battery.

There Are Multiple Companies Making RF Harvesting Technology

What makes the technology truly exciting is that the scientists claim they can incorporate the complete circuitry into a $100 stick-on skin for smartphones. The sticker would continue to trickle-charge your smartphone while having no negative impact on the strength of the data or web connection on the phone itself.

Nikola Labs, the company entrusted with further developing the technology to make it commercially viable, is gearing up for a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter later this month. The scientists even envision smartphones that could one day have this technology built right into them.

The makers caution that the technology isn’t a “charger” but ask that it be considered along the lines of a battery extender.

Update: It appears another company, K3OPS, has a very similar solution, and they even have a sleek smartphone protective case with the technology to harvest radio waves built right into it.

[Image Credit | Nikola Labs]