Nokia researchers are experimenting with new ways to charge mobile and wireless devices, cell phones and smartphones. The researchers are using ambient radio waves and have been able to harvest about 3.5 milliwatts of power with a prototype, according to the Nokia corporate blog. The goal is to eventually collect 50 milliwatts of power, which could fully charge a spent cell phone.
researchers are describing a new and innovative method for using the
radiation of ambient radio waves in order to charge a range of mobile devices,
including cell phones and smartphones.
On the Nokia Conversations blog,
the company offers a look at how researchers are using a prototype device that
is capable of collecting about 3.5 milliwatts of power from the electromagnetic
radiation found in Wi-Fi devices, mobile phone antennas and television masts.
The goal, according to the June 10 blog post from Nokia,
is to eventually
create a device that can collect up to 50 milliwatts of power, which would be
enough energy to recharge a cell phone that has run out of power and is turned
However, the Nokia researchers caution that they are only experimenting with
this type of technology and an actual working model for consumer and business
use could be years off. Some researchers believe the technology might never
work at all.
A longer version explaining the details of what Nokia's Research Centre
scientists are working on can be found at the MIT Technology Review Website.
The research is being headed by Nokia researcher Markku Rouvala.
The power-charging concept is based on similar technology found in RFID
(radio-frequency identification) tags. The key to the technology is converting
electromagnetic waves into electrical signals, which requires two passive
"Even if you are only getting microwatts, you can still harvest energy,
provided your circuit is not using more power than it's receiving,"
Rouvala told Technology Review.
Now, Nokia researchers are looking to increase the range of frequencies
these devices can draw power from in order to increase the amount of energy
they can collect. Researchers are now looking at frequencies from 500MHz to 10GHz.
Right now, this type of technology is used to charge small devices such as
RFID tags and wireless sensors.
In order to achieve the 50-milliwatt threshold, scientists believe that a
device would have to collect about 1,000 strong signals from a wide range of
frequencies, which means that a viable consumer device is still a long way from
coming to the commercial market.
Nokia is not the only company making headlines about new types of energy
efficient technology. On June 10, Google
and some partners announced that they are closer to developing new types of
that are cheaper than coal. Google plans on developing a
system that uses this energy in a few years.