First ever battery-free cellphone has been made by University of Washington researchers. The phone needs no battery and is a major leap forward in moving beyond chargers, chords and dying phones. The phones harvest the few Microwatts of power which the phone receives from either ambient radio signals or light.
The team also made Skype calls using its battery-free phone, demonstrating that the prototype made of commercial, off-the-shelf components can receive and transmit speech and communicate with a base station.
Shyam Gollakota, an associate professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the UW stated, “To achieve the really, really low power consumption that you need to run a phone by harvesting energy from the environment, we had to fundamentally rethink how these devices are designed.”
Next, the research team plans to focus on improving the battery-free phone’s operating range and encrypting conversations to make them secure. The team is also working to stream video over a battery-free cellphone and add a visual display feature to the phone using low-power E-ink screens. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and Google Faculty Research Awards.
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