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Experimental cellphone powered by light and radio waves

/ 05:52 PM September 17, 2017

Image: University of Washington/Mark Stone

A battery-free cellphone was developed by a researcher from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Its source of power is sunlight and radio waves.

Made by IEEE member Vamsi Talla and a team of researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle, this cellphone allows users to make regular calls and connect to emergency services.

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The prototype was able to successfully make Skype voice calls without a battery attached to it. The energy came in the form of radio waves being emitted from a base station.

According to an interview with Talla by IEEE news outlet The Institute, the battery-free cellphone consumes around 10,000 times less energy than a current smartphone.

He also noted that the technology revolved around a simplistic design with the goal of making it accessible to more people, particularly those living in developing countries.

Due to the simple design, Talla believes current cellphone manufacturers can adapt a “battery-free cellphone mode” with the addition of just one special chip.

Moving forward, Talla wants to go beyond just making voice calls. He mentioned the addition of an E Ink display as well as a camera to allow functionality closer to a modern smartphone.

The project is supported by the Google Faculty Research program which provides a total investment of $2 million. Alfred Bayle/JB

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TOPICS: battery-free, cellphone, emergency calls, radio waves, sunlight
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