On the way to battery-free electronics

By | July 13, 2017

There's a lot of ambient energy being emitted into our atmosphere – and this prototype demonstrates that that energy is enough to power a mobile phone.

Now, this prototype is very limited, working only within a 9 meter range of the base tower (or 15 meter range from the base tower if you additionally use ambient light as a power source), but it demonstrates that you can use backscattering to harvest enough energy emitted by nearby mobile phone towers to power a mobile phone.

Hm… I wonder how energy companies or mobile phone operators will end up billing the energy costs for such devices in the future? Looks like the energy industry will have more than just decentralized energy production disrupting their business model…

Battery Free Phone
We present the first battery-free cellphone design that consumes only a few micro-watts of power. Our design can sense speech, actuate the earphones, and switch between uplink and downlink communications, all in real time. Our system optimizes transmission and reception of speech while …

3 thoughts on “On the way to battery-free electronics

  1. Sophie Wrobel

    Don't forget that the tower density has increased dramatically, and the broadband spectrum used for portable consumer electronics has increased as well. Low-energy bluetooth devices might be a better pilot candidate than phones due to their lower battery usage, though it doesn't sound half as cool!

  2. John Bump

    That's pretty spectacular. Often it's the case that it takes more energy to make waste energy harvesting systems than they will recover in their lifetimes, but in the case of portable electronics that may not be a major drawback. If we can lower our cellphone power usage enough, this could be spectacular. (And, if multiple companies start making/selling these, they may not be able to bill us for energy costs because someone else will just undercut them by billing us less.)


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