Ariel Schwartz

Airnergy Charges Your Gadgets With Wi-Fi Signals

by , 01/14/10
filed under: Greener Gadgets

sustainable design, green design, green gadget, ces, airnergy, rca, wifi, power

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show is over, but there are still a number of nifty devices trickling into our inboxes. One of our favorites is the RCA Airnergy, a USB-connected device that converts Wi-Fi antenna signals into usable power for your gadgets. The device is completely self-sustaining — it automatically charges whenever a Wi-Fi signal is close by and stores the power in a lithium-ion battery.

sustainable design, green design, green gadget, ces, airnergy, rca, wifi, power

The Airnergy’s recharging time depends on the quality and number of Wi-Fi signals nearby, but an RCA spokesman at CES said that it was possible to fully charge a Blackberry at 30% power in just 90 minutes using ambient signals.

RCA’s technology isn’t new, but this is the first time it has been used in a commercial device. The Airnergy is relatively cheap, too, with an expected price of $40 when it goes on sale later this year. We love the idea — while it may not be practical for emergency charging in the woods, the Airnergy could be invaluable in on-the-go situations when your cell phone‘s power is petering out.

Via Popular Science

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9 Comments

  1. Is Wi-Fi Making Trees S... November 22, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    [...] Wi-fi networks blanket urban areas around the world, keeping us constantly connected to the internet wherever we may be — however a new European study finds that these networks may have harmful side-effects on the environment. According to a report by Wageningen University, the constant humming of internet data centers and wi-fi networks could have an adverse effect on nearby trees. The article states that the background radiation produced by these beacons of tech could be making trees sick. [...]

  2. Quora September 19, 2010 at 4:12 am

    What’s the catch with Airnergy’s wifi battery charger?…

    This seems absolutely revolutionary…and only $40.  What’s the catch? “The Airnergy’s recharging time depends on the quality and number of Wi-Fi signals nearby, but an RCA spokesman at CES said that it was possible to fully charge a Blackberry at 30…

  3. Psi January 18, 2010 at 8:53 am

    how does it defy the second law of thermodynamics?! We’re talking about converting one form of energy into another. I do think however that there is some exaggeration going on here. If there was enough energy in those signals to power devices we would all be walking around with tumors

  4. Altzone January 17, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    This device simply will not work as intended, and is not as effective as people are lead to believe.
    I do the calculations to debunk it in my latest EEVblog video here:
    http://www.eevblog.com/2010/01/17/eevblog-55-rca-airnergy-wifi-hotspot-energy-harvesting-marketing-bs/

    Short story – under ideal conditions @ 1m from a typical WiFi router you can expect it to take in the order of 8 *years* (70,000 hours) to charge the internal battery enough to in-turn fully recharge a flat 5.6Wh smartphone battery.

    Don’t be suckered into buying this sham product!

  5. WBrooke January 15, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Great idea, but it looks like this one was shot with a pellet gun.

  6. lisame January 14, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    This sounds so great. But, how can I really understand the viability of this technology?

    I think readers should also go the the source article at Popular Science, read the article and comments below. They are a bit wondering, confusing and contradicting, but also enlightening about the technology.

    Time to ask more questions to before jumping!

  7. Sway January 14, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Take a look at the comments regarding this device over at OhGizmo. I believe the WiFi energy harvesting is BS. There just isn’t enough energy in the signal.

  8. David Estlund January 14, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Amazing! I’ll put it right next to my cold fusion jar! (Seriously, folks, this thing will not, cannot work as advertised. It defies the second law of thermodynamics.)

  9. theGattaca January 14, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    So does this mean that wifi cards and cellular could soon be self powered? Could significantly extend the battery life of portables …

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