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  1.    #1

    "Charge your phone by harvesting free WiFi energy

    Some might think that the title is one lengthy typo, as it’s usually WiFi that depletes your battery, but we assure you it’s not. A company called RCA has managed to devise a great little gadget that will allow your phone to harvest WiFi energy and convert it into electricity, thus charging your mobile phone for free. Yes, you read it right - for free. (Tesla was a genius, but not much of a businessman. sub.ed.)

    The device is called Airnergy and while this concept isn’t new, this seems to be the first time it’s found a practical use. In fact, the Airnergy managed to charge a Blackberry from 30% battery to full battery in 90 minutes, all the while using “free” energy.

    The Airnergy packs a battery within, so all you need to do is carry it around with you in your pocket. Of course, reasonable proximity to WiFi spots wouldn’t hurt either, but the device runs all the time, so charging should not be a problem.

    RCA says that Airnergy will hit retail in summer, with the same technology-based battery soon to follow, and will cost as low as $40, which sounds almost too good to be true. We just hope they stop using the word “free”, as history has proven many times that free energy is not something that “Big Brothers” would ever unleash on the great unwashed.

    You can find out more here, where you’ll find a detailed explanation on video. (Once again, if Tesla didn't make it work, this guy won't either. sub.ed.)"
  2. #2  
    So if my pre dies in 2 hours using Nav and Pandora I might be able to charge with this and overheat my battery so that I could call the insurance company to cut me a check to replace my car that just burnt to the just kidding.

    This is a win - win for everyone. If RCA is going to bring this to market and it is as they say, it will be a big shot in the arm for them that is badly needed.

    Thought I would help with the hyperlink here
  3. #3  
    I wondered when we'd see this tech in the consumer market. Here's hoping
  4.    #4  
    I wonder if it would affect the WiFi connection of a phone if it is using the WiFi signal to power the device... Maybe it could harvest radio signals instead of WiFi? I just want a device that I never need to plug in to anything or ever consciously charge.
  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by zfrogz View Post
    I wonder if it would affect the WiFi connection of a phone if it is using the WiFi signal to power the device... Maybe it could harvest radio signals instead of WiFi? I just want a device that I never need to plug in to anything or ever consciously charge.
    There should be no effect to wifi. Like any radio wave in this range, it is "floating" around all over. All that may be happening here is that some of the "extra" energy floating around is picked up and it might then vibrate some kind of tuned device that then changes the vibration into electrical energy thus charging the battery. It's not taking anything away from the wifi devices. They will still work as they do now.
  6.    #6  
    @ Finally Pre
    I understand that but you don't think building that technology into a new phone would effect that phones wifi? Having the "wifi power harvesting" tech in such close proximity to the phones wifi chip seems like it may interfere with the transmission of data. I could be completely wrong. If it did interfere, maybe it could turn off the wifi power when the phone has an active wifi connection.
    Last edited by zfrogz; 01/21/2010 at 10:12 PM.
  7. #7  
    We do have some heavy tech people here as members. Maybe one can chime in. IMO it should not interfere. It all depend on how the product is made. After all the energy has to be converted to electrical. There could be something in the process of converting that signal that could cause feedback. But I don't see it "harvesting" away from anything or limiting any communication. Think of it like this. You could listen in (with the right equipment) to a cell phone call. In fact several people could yet your conversation never would change. Or in a simpler way, you could think of a radio station. One person listens to it and then another and another and so on. Yet the first person still has the same quality signal.

    The wifi signal does not lock on and travel in a straight line like a laser. It is all around. Think of a ball. You just pickup part of that ball. Then you transmit back in a ball. The wifi unit picks up part of that ball form your phone. At the same time the harvesting unit does the same. It is picking up on some of the extra ball energy. Everything works the same as it did before. Only now you are using some of the wasted part of the ball.
  8. #8  
    I'd really have to see this to believe it. I have a hard time imagining wifi signals generating very much power. Rather, I suspect that the demo was done with a pre-charged battery. Even if this thing had 100% efficiency and 20 100mW wireless routers only 5 feet away, it would still take about 6 months to charge the Pre's normal battery. I'd love to see controlled evidence of this, not the company's presentation.
  9. R_E
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    This has been discussed to death on Engadget. The device in question is simply a battery. The WIFI charging, may be there, but it is irrelevant because it is mathematically impossible for a battery to get any sort of significant charge from ambient wifi signals (a noted above). It would make much more sense to slap a solar panel on the thing. I would probably charge more from indoor lighting than this device could get from wifi.

    Now something some one should invent is a charger that gets its energy from the kinetic energy of movement. That way, just walking around with the phone in your pocket would charge your battery (though this would be very difficult to implement and may not produce much energy either...).
  10. #10  
    Personally I think a more realistic approach would be to make induction charging, which is already present on the Pre, more omnipresent in various office and home type objects. For example, instead of having to rely on a touchstone to charge you battery, what if have a desk that already had induction technology integrated so you could just place on the surface. I know products like the powermat induction mat already exist, but I would like them to become more universal and integrated into more everyday objects...that would be very cool especially in workplaces like offices, hotels, hospitals, airports etc...
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  11. #11  
    One place I'd love to see inductive charging is on cars. Take something like the Chevy Volt or a similar all- or part-electric car and equip it with an inductive receiver. Build a charger into the floor of a garage. Simply parking over it starts the charging process. No need to plug anything in. Of course, this would rely on reasonably high efficiency. If a Pre is charged inefficiently, no big deal. If a large number of cars is charged inefficiently, the power grid could be measurably taxed.

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