Mobile phone battery life sucks. Just look at the surge in battery pack sales. Well, the University of Washington have noticed this and proposed a new alternative - getting rid of batteries altogether.
This is done using a technique called backscatter, which uses the radio waves transmitted by the phone to power the phone itself. While this is in the early stages of development, the team have successfully managed to make a voice call to an Android smartphone using a battery-less phone.
To get to this stage, it’s taken a lot of difficult research. Previously, the team tested their backscatter technology digitally, using wi-fi signals for power. However, while this is enough to power talking t-shirts or signing posters, it wasn’t enough for a phone.
The fix? Go back to analog, which uses significantly less power. More specifically, this battery-free technology was last used during the Cold War in spy kits. To input numbers, the phone transmits digital signals, after which it moves completely over to analog for voice transmission.
But wait… Android phones operate mostly on digital wavelengths, so to circumvent this, the analog signals of the battery-less phone move over an unlicensed frequency to a base station, which is connected to Skype.
More efforts to conserve power were needed to be made above that too - making it work like a walky-talky (press a button to swap from speaking to listening), and future plans involve adding an e-ink display for SMS messaging and maybe adding a camera.
Certainly excited to see how this technology progresses, and what it can do to benefit the future of shoddy phone battery life.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.