Thursday, April 19, 2007

Charge up your phone battery over the air

Now that's truly wireless. I once said to an industry colleague about 5 years ago, that to be truly wireless, we'd have to find a way to do away with plugs and cables entirely. He laughed at me saying we'd all be electrocuted and that that would be impossible. But it seems that that isn't the case.

In the article in Business 2.0 magazine, Powercast's platform uses nothing more complex than a radio--and is cheap enough for just about any company to incorporate into a product. A transmitter plugs into the wall, and a dime-size receiver (the real innovation, costing about $5 to make) can be embedded into any low-voltage device. The receiver turns radio waves into DC electricity, recharging the device's battery at a distance of up to 3 feet.

This is revolutionary stuff. The company behind it is PowerCast and they have a nice video explaining it all on their website.

I've seen a wire-free charging up device before called SplashPower and pretty cool it is too, especially for in the home as it's also quite nice to look at. I'm no guru when it comes to exactly *how* things work. But it looks to me like it works along similar lines to PowerCast in that you need a receiver attached to the device you want to charge up - the main difference being that your device then needs to touch the SplashPad (pictured left) as opposed to PowerCast where you need to be within 3 feet of the transmitter.

This is huge as it's an amazing technology breakthrough. Assuming they pass all the safety tests required with the various manufacturers they're partnering with you can imagine the scope for this - especially as the technology improves over time, which I'm sure it will.

Imagine the scenario with something like the Starsight Project... The solar-powered and wi-fi'd up streetlights could have these transmitters in them and the local people can charge up their mobile phones at their local lampost. I can imagine that being a real hit in developing nations. I guess that's a little while away, but hopefully sooner than we might think.

Via Tom Hume and Textually.