What if you could charge your laptop without even plugging it into an outlet? That dream may soon become a reality as University of Washington researchers have developed PoWiFi, a technology that harvests ambient “backscatter” radio signals to power battery-free temperature and camera sensors as well as some electronics. The team also provided a detailed description of how they successfully powered devices over Wi-Fi using existing Wi-Fi chipsets, without hampering the router’s performance. Continue reading for a video and more information.
“Gollakota and his team build on this with PoWiFi, which ‘tricks’ routers into sending out constant RF signals received by an antenna. This is then converted into DC power with a ‘rectifier.’ A DC-DC converter increases the voltage to fit the sensor and microcontroller’s requirements. The researchers installed PoWiFi in six homes in a metropolitan area and encouraged residents to use their wireless normally. Four of the six participants reported no difference in their user experience,” reports Inhabitat.