The battery lives of mobile phones have become a regular feature and to a certain extent, a constraining factor on our lives. A regular on-the-go activity is calculating whether we have enough power to last us through the day- at work, at home or while traveling. Sometimes just shooting a glance at the battery icon can be enough to trigger a response. As is well known by now, low battery percentages can cause distress and panic and the question: “Does anyone have a charger?”
Yes, your mobile phone needs charging to be ready for emergencies, entertainment and communication purposes. But consider this- what if you didn’t need to charge your phone?
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A team of students and researchers at The University of Washington has designed a prototype mobile phone that is charging-free. This phone uses only a few micro-watts of power and can perform the basic functions of a regular phone; transmitting and receiving calls, sensing speech and activating earphones – all without requiring a regular battery. The phone acts like a walkie-talkie, though, where you have to press a button to transmit speech. It also does not have a screen, or memory. But this phone does eliminate the need to charge a battery.
At the current stage, the phone uses a base station that powers it from a distance of around 10 meters. The base station does all the work of providing power to the phone through radio frequencies. This means that the phone needs to be within the range of the base station to operate. At this point it seems that the phone works great as a prototype for testing operations on a battery-free device. The phone cannot operate in competition to smartphones in the general market. The next step for developers will be to bring this technology i.e. the battery free functionality, to regular phones and on mainstream mobile networks.