Wireless Charging over Wi-Fi Offers Promising Solution for Powering IoT
“With the power of technology nowadays, you will no longer be surprised hearing this. But with this improved innovation, everyone will definitely benefit from it. Hopefully these power WiFi will be available for regular consumers soon.”
Applications that depend on Wi-Fi connection are a major cause of battery drain for mobile devices. Turning off Wi-Fi is often users’ first solution when faced with smartphones running out of power. While scanning for an available wireless network does consume battery power, the wireless radio signals themselves can actually be a source of power. According to a recent report from the technology magazine Wired, a research team at the University of Washington in Seattle has found a promising solution that allows smartphone users to charge their devices and browse the Internet simultaneously with the help of Wi-Fi.
A team of engineers researching at the university’s Electrical Engineering Department have achieved recharging batteries of various electronic gadgets through air using just a router and a sensor. This solution, known as “power over Wi-Fi” (or PoWi-Fi for short), is able to deliver power to a device within a distance of 28 feet or around 8.5 meters.
Vamsi Talla, a member of the research team, told Wired that they modified the wireless router so that it can transmit both intelligible Wi-Fi signals and signals that can become usable electricity. The sensor is for receiving radio waves and converting them into DC power.
The concept of wireless charging using Wi-Fi has been around for some time, but the PoWi-Fi have two significant improvements over the earlier solutions. Firstly, this system is based on existing technologies. According to the research team, theoretically it would take just a firmware upgrade to the current routers for it to work. Secondly, the charging process will not interfere with the Wi-Fi signals intended as data for applications, so a device user can recharge without losing connectivity.
Indeed, the development of Wi-Fi charging has been hampered by issues of practicality and convenience. A product based on similar technology and charges devices using RF was introduced to the public four years ago. However, it disappeared soon amidst growing doubts about its viability, such as the weakening of RF over distance and Wi-Fi signal being …