Nokia prepping background wireless phone charging

Nokia is working on a way to power your phone from background radiation in the air wherever we are, and even when your mobile is flicked off. That ought to top the Palm Touchstone any day, so read on to find out how far off the future tech is!

A team from the Nokia Research Centre in Cambridge is working on a way to harvest “ambient” electromagnetic waves (From Wi-Fi, TV masts and more) and use them to power your Nokia mobile and do away with the need for a universal charger altogether. It’s similar to how an RFID tag converts EM waves into an electrical signal, although on a much bigger scale.

Nokia N97 unboxed

One of the Nokia researchers, Markku Rouvala, says the group is trying to build a prototype that sucks up 50 milliwatts of power, which would be enough to slowly charge a phone when switched off while you kip.

As you might have guessed with a technology that promises to be seriously usefu, it’s not been cracked just yet. Nokia is only managing 3-5 milliwatts from ambient sources at the moment, and some academics doubt it can be done efficiently: “If they can get 50 milliwatts out of ambient RF, that would put me out of business,” says Steve Beeby, a physicist at Southampton university.

Still, Nokia thinks it can be done, and “within three to four years”, according to Rouvala, although we’re likely to see it working hand in hand with solar cells at first. Still though, it’s good to see it’s not just Palm working on a solution to daily charging chores.

Out TBC | £TBC | Nokia (Via Technology Review)

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