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.
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.
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.
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.