Nokia Working on Power Scavenging Cell Phones

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Nokia is working on a mobile phone that can scavenge electrical power from the ambient radio waves that permeates the atmosphere. Markku Rouvala a researcher from the Nokia Research Centre in Cambridge U.K told MIT's Technology Review that ambient electromagnetic radiation emitted from Wi Fi transmitters cell phone antennas TV masts and other sources could be converted into enough electrical current to keep a battery topped up

The team at Cambridge is working on a prototype device that could harvest up to 50 milliwatts of power from the electromagnetic soup - which is sufficient to trickle charge a switched off phone. Current versions can scavenge 3 to 5 milliwatts. To increase the amount of power that can be harvested, Nokia is focusing on harvesting many different frequencies. "It needs a wideband receiver," says Rouvala, to capture signals from between 500 megahertz and 10 gigahertz--a range that encompasses many different radio communication signals."

MIT noted that historically, energy-harvesting technologies have only been found in niche markets, powering wireless sensors and RFID tags in particular. If Nokia's claims stand up, then it could push energy harvesting into mainstream consumer devices.

Rouvala said that he envisaged commercial products could be launched in three to four years time.

On the web: Technology Review - Nokia Cambridge

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