Charging phones with thin air - Fusion - WeRIndia

Charging phones with thin air

Charging phones with thin air

Have you heard of this PoWiFi device which can use RF signals emitted by transmission towers and convert that energy to wirelessly recharge mobile phones in the remotest of areas?

This unique and revolutionary device is being developed by Shyamnath (Shyam) Gollakota, assistant professor and Head of the Network and Mobile Systems lab, Department of computer science and Engineering, University of Washington. There could soon be a device that will make cell phone chargers obselete.

In today’s world, many people are using WiFi in their homes. This leaves a lot of Radio Frequency signals which can be used to power this device.

It is exactly this vast WiFi infrastructure that Gollakota is very excited about. Increasing WiFi means that a lot of RF signals are released. This means that a lot of energy can be harvested from thin air.


The prototype device is just at the size of a credit card. It was made by Gollakota and his young team of researchers. PoWiFi was named so to mean Power over WiFi.

The tests on PoWifi have shown that it can wirelessly recharge two of.4V nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) and a 3.0 V lithium-ion (Li-Ion) coin cell battery at a distance of up to 28 feet. Furthermore, it can also communicate with battery-free temperature and camera sensors with ranges of 20 and 17 feet respectively.

Image Reference: Thebetterindia

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