Some researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle recently developed a device that has a promising potential. With so many years of research and study, they have come up with a prototype cell phone that has the ability to draw power from thin air, and function properly even when the internal battery has drained out.
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The brain behind this research is Vamsi Talla, a research associate at the lab of Joshua Smith (who is a computer scientist and electrical engineer at the University of Washington). It actually took him years to devise a means of replacing the battery of the prototype cell phone. The only possible alternative is the surroundings of the phone, which include the environment in general.
He then devised a technology that could convert light into an energy source through the use of photodiodes and miniature solar panels. Combined with the energy from Television and radio antennas, a hybrid system resulted in the production of 10 microwatts of energy, which is currently inadequate to power up a traditional cell phone.
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To make communication possible in this prototype cell phone, Smith’s lab actually worked on creating a “backscatter”, which reflects radio signals to create network frequency in a device with the least amount of power consumption possible. Yet, that is not even enough to run the prototype cell phone to its full potential.
Lacking a touch screen feature, this prototype cell phone sports a touch sensitive number pad and a tiny red LED that glows when a number is pressed. The design is based on the notion that the power derived from “air” will only enable the user to make calls and send messages.
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One problem of the prototype cell phone is still obvious, the consumption is still too much compared to what can be generated. There is still a long way to go with this new technology, and while not in the near future, there is a big possibility that we might be able to see such a device in circulation. There will be a time when you need not worry about leaving your power bank at home.
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