Nokia Smartphones Could Get Infinite Standby Time

Researchers try to harvest ambient radiowaves and transform them into electricity

By on March 25th, 2013 18:21 GMT

Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia is one of the pioneers in the mobile industry, although its presence on the market has dropped significantly in the past few years, but the company appears set to prove that it can live up to that name.

At one point in the not too distant future, the company's smartphones might get a new technology inside that would offer infinite standby time, without needing recharging, provided that the company did not leave such plans aside.

A few years back, the company's researchers were working on means to wirelessly charge devices from a distance, and WMPoweruser notes that devices featuring such technology could arrive on shelves in a matter of years.

The idea is based on the wireless transfer of energy, which has been demoed over a century ago, and attempts to harvest the ambient radiowaves such as weak TV, radio and mobile phone signals that surround us, a post on guardian.co.uk explains.

Using a wide-band antenna that can pick up frequencies ranging from 500 megahertz to 10 gigahertz, the technology also involves two additional circuits, one to transform the picked up signals into electricity, and another to feed the electricity to the phone’s battery.

This happened in 2009, when Markku Rouvala, a researcher at the Nokia Research Centre in Cambridge, UK, explained that the team working on the technology managed to harvest only 5 milliwatts of electricity, though that they were looking into means to increase that to 20 milliwatts.

With this amount of energy being gathered out of thin air, the technology would have provided the prototype phone that said researchers were working on with the possibility to remain in standby time indefinitely.

However, the problem is that this energy won’t allow for users to actually take advantage of the handset’s capabilities, as the power would suffice only to keep it alive when idle.

To slowly recharge the battery inside a phone, the team would have to refine the technology to allow them to harvest around 50 milliwatts, enough to keep the phone alive for almost forever (though this would certainly be influenced on the actual device usage).

For the time being, there’s no telling on how long it will take for the team to come up with the needed assembly that would be able to gather this amount of energy from the ambient radiowaves, though the next few years might offer an answer to that.

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