The future of mobile charging is Wi-Fi charging

| Technology

The future of mobile charging is Wi-Fi charging

The days of forgetting to charge your phone up and it dying after 20 minutes might soon be over.

Wi-Fi may be able to do more for you in the future than just connect you to the internet. Soon, it’ll be able to charge up all your devices as well.

The team from the University of Washington that created this new way of charging up batteries are calling it a “power over Wi-Fi” system and it is capable of charging batteries through the air from up to 28 feet away.

The team at the University of Washington say it only has two components, an access point (the router) and a custom-built sensor.

The goal of the sensors is to harvest RF (radio frequency) power and convert it into DC power. The second piece, the access point, there we actually developed a custom solution on it, just a software modification that would enable the access point to act both as a good power delivery source and, simultaneously, also as a good Wi-Fi router” explains Vamsi Talla, a researcher on the project.

This means, the technology needed for this to work is already in your hardware and won’t affect your internet connection one bit.

The team has tested this new system on a number of devices already including a camera, rechargeable batteries and temperature sensors. The tests have powered devices across a range of distances from 17 to 28 feet and all have worked.

They have also set up functional systems in six homes and amazingly some of the router models are several years old, which means this could be done on the routers you have right now.

Talla also says that “in theory, it’s just a firmware upgrade” however the system will need the hardware manufacturers on board.  And while the team doesn’t have any major deals in place, they are working with a startup to take the concept and turn it into a marketable product.

The team are working on making this concept better by increasing maximum range and making it more efficient with Talla saying “The work we’ve published, you could think of it as the first proof of concept, but it’s by no means the optimal solution. We’re actively working to make it better.”

The team didn’t say just how much this Wi-Fi system is able to charge up your mobile phones but whatever it is, it is still extremely impressive. One thing it does prove though is that a wireless Wi-Fi charger is definitely coming and a lot sooner than we might have originally thought.  

Luke Stanley