Did you just wonder how can radio frequencies be used to transmit radio broadcasted news? Well, this might have inspired Nikola Labs, co-founder Dr. Rob Lee, to make use of radio frequencies after it was found out that it was just wasted up in the air.
And rather than letting it all go to waste, this Ohio-based startup asserts to have cooked up a way to strap up that power and readdress it using a humble-looking, $99 iPhone case.
The prototype isn’t like ultrasound power transmission system that uBeam has raised over $13 million as there aren’t any transmitters you need to stand in range of. And how does it help smartphone users, iPhone users in particular? It is claimed that the case that silently and slowly captures your iPhone’s wasted power will use it for self-recharging.
Well, this isn’t the kind of magic we’ve witnessed in Harry Potter movie series but this can be a promising technology if launched. But let’s take a moment to reset some expectations. It’s not like slapping this case on your smartphone will bring it from bone dry to fully-charged.
How this thing works? The harvesting antenna and DC power-converting rectifier circuit makes up Nikola Labs’ secret sauce. There’s a big catch though. That source of power can only extend an iPhone’s battery life by about thirty percent – and so slow. But the good thing is; it’s a passive process that’ll continue as long the case is attached to the phone. This means, we’d theoretically see slower battery depletion over time instead of a sudden burst of charging activity.
But to think that the case comes without internal battery or capacitors that can store some of the recaptured wasted energy, makes me think that it’s not ideal thing to invest with, for now. The technology comes straight from the depths of Ohio State’s engineering department, for that matter, and Nikola Labs has an exclusive license from the university to turn it into an actual, money-making product.
I have a little question about this stuff. If it uses power from your phone then it will just reduce signal strength by blocking some of the signal your phone transmits. This idea might have won nothing but just made reception worse and could save the same amount of energy by going into airplane mode.
If it uses wasted signal from other phones it could work but the field strength even a small distance away from the device is much smaller so the efficiency could be very low. I would like to see some real numbers about what they claim you can get. Meanwhile, the best way to conserve your smartphone’s battery juice is by turning off the connectivity when not in use and by bringing a USB portable charger wherever you go.