Gallery: Nokia Phone Charges by Drawing Energy Out of Thin Air

nokia, radio waves, charge, standby mode, research
nokia, radio waves, charge, standby mode, research

File this under, “Technology I Never Knew Existed,” but Nokia says that in a few years time, they will be able to charge cell phones by using ambient radio waves. This intriguing and exciting technology could lead to huge reductions in energy demand if every cell phone could pull a charge of juice out of thin air.

Researchers at the Nokia Research Centre in Cambridge in the UK are working hard on a technology that can harvest small amounts of energy from ambient radio and TV waves. The cell phone would pick up radio wave frequencies as low as 500 megahertz up to 10 gigahertz, which includes television broadcasts, microwave ovens, mobile phones, wireless LAN, bluetooth, GPS, and two-way radios. In theory, two circuits would be capable of receiving and then converting the free energy to an electrical current to charge the battery of a cell phone.

Hopefully, it would be enough energy to keep the phone charged in standby mode; although at first it won’t be enough to charge the phone while in use, or to full battery capacity. Markku Rouvala, one of the researchers who developed the device, says “trick here is to ensure that these circuits use less power than is being received.” So far, their device can collect up to 5 milliwatts of power, and their short term goal is to collect 20 milliwatts of power, which is just enough to keep the phone charged in standby mode. Ultimately, 50 milliwatts of power would be ideal and could help slowly recharge the battery.

This technology could be applied to other electronic equipment as well. Radio waves could be used to charge MP3 players, handheld devices, Kindles, portable game players, etc. Nokia isn’t relying on this type of technology alone to power their phones, they are also looking at integrated solar cells to work in conjunction with this new development. Deployment of this feature in Nokia phones is still at least 3 years away. We’ll be standing by with our waning cell phones waiting for word.

+ Nokia Research Centre in Cambridge

Via Guardian


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  1. goodacid April 22, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Life would be wonderful wouldn’t it? Everything would cost alot less. Nice dream huh?

  2. Scottizda1man March 31, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Why make it for your Cell Phones? Why not your Electric cars? Hmmm? That is right your car doesn’t even need to be plugged in no more gas, you apply this to your car along with wind and solar power, you can go anywhere.

  3. free May 11, 2010 at 8:57 am

    This is coolmost of us can’t

  4. leodasilva April 9, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Simply Great!!!! We have many many resources in our planet, some to be discovered and why not to use this one and help saving electrical energy in our homes, and we’ll be helping the planet too!!

  5. Csmit January 9, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    re: comments that this technology will reduce signal quality & necessitate more powerful transmitters:

    If you’re stuck in traffic on the highway, do you notice your radio sounds worse because many people around you are also listening to theirs? The signals are in the air, everywhere… and they eventually get absorbed by something, or dissipate into the atmosphere regardless of whether the signal is absorbed in a useful way.

  6. 3mobilesdenmark December 19, 2009 at 6:04 am

    i guess people have to take one thing under consideration that network traffic should remain the same…
    i mean there should not be any congestion problem

  7. Mr Obvious December 18, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    You’ve never heard of Nikkola Tesla – look him up.

  8. Vitelius November 21, 2009 at 5:16 am

    Doesn’t this effect the quality of the signal if everyone is pulling so much energy out of the radiosignal? Your not creating energy, radiotowers will just have to send out more powerfull (unhealty) signals, and so they will consume more power. How much more energy will transmitters use to keep the signal as strong as it was before? I don’t really believe this is the future.

  9. H3LIO September 29, 2009 at 7:50 am

    Next time you make a comment you should get information about the technology. anyway its not a new technology its just a different way to use electromagnetic waves and its not harmful for the environment and we all use it every day to communicate, work and for entertainment.

  10. razaabbas1 July 27, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    great tecnology,that will really help but i think this will also result in negative ways that could be damaging to the environment. As we all know every thing has a great side effect…………..
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