Researchers from the University of Washington (UW) might have let all the awesome technology that exists only in sci-fi movies to inspire them, as they came up with a way to use Wi-Fi networks as power sources used to recharge electronic devices wirelessly.
With today’s smartphones eating away the battery in no time, engineers are trying to keep up by creating batteries with the necessary capacity, but that has proved rather difficult. And there’s always the hassle of having a charger with you wherever you go.
So the UW researchers went down on another path by figuring out how to take the wires out of the equation for good by making use of Wi-Fi routers. They designed a system that can recharge devices found in 27 meters range of the source, and there are no wires that need connecting.
Wireless charging seemed the absolute logical next step for the team, as they realized they could make use of the gigantic Wi-Fi infrastructure that’s already in place in a large part of the world. We are so used to communicating various data wirelessly, that users would have no trouble at all going to the next level.
The technology called “Power over Wi-Fi” is designed to convert radio frequency emitted from the wireless router into direct current (DC) power. Unlike other attempts at figuring out the same feat, the new invention does not require separate equipment in order to function.
Another problem that found its solution was the one related to overcharging Wi-Fi routers. The devices started emitting power signals only when user traffic on that router registered under a certain level.
Bryce Kellogg, an engineer from the UW team working on the project, explained that Wi-Fi routers could spew a lot more power than the system allows it to, but that would probably kill your Wi-Fi signal, and you’d often find yourself frustrated about that.
The invention tweaked the router into dividing the continuous power that normal goes into only one channel among three separate Wi-Fi channels. This was necessary so the engineers would obtain the same energy output without putting too much strain on a single channel.
During tests, researchers were able to recharge a camera, some rechargeable batteries and temperature sensors. The distances from where the devices received the power signal and connected to the router varied, from 28 feet for the batteries to 17 feet for the camera.
Most importantly, the speed of the internet traffic was in no way slowed down in five out of six experiments, which is important for users. Researchers plan to expand their technology and make it available on a larger scale.
Image Source: Android Authority