A prototype of a battery-free mobile phone which uses technology that is hoped to be integrated into mass-market products, has been unveiled by Researchers in the United States.
A group of researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle made this phone and it works by harvesting tiny amounts of power from radio signals, known as radio frequency or 'RF' waves.
One of the team members, Vamsi Talla, said "Ambient RF waves are all around us so, as an example, your FM station broadcasts radio waves, your AM stations do that, your TV stations, your cellphone towers. They all are transmitting RF waves".
According to Reuters, the phone is a first prototype and its operation is basic. At first glance it looks little more than a circuit board with a few parts attached and the caller must wear headphones and press a button to switch between talking and listening. But researchers say there are plans to develop further prototypes, featuring a low-power screen for texting and even a basic camera. They also plan a version of the battery-free phone that uses a tiny solar cell to provide power.
Though further details was not given, plans are being made by the researchers to release the product in eight months time. However, one of the team members was willing to leak the impact of their work on the future of phone technology.
"In the future every smartphone will come with a battery-free mode where you can at least make a voice call when your battery's dead," they said.
They are not the only ones trying to invent new ways of powering mobile technology. Supercapacitors, which is believed to eventually allow devices to charge in a period of a few minutes, are being developed by researchers at the Universities of Bristol and Surrey in Britain.