A Weird New Way To Extend Your Phone Battery

A Weird New Way To Extend Your Phone Battery


If you’re sick of your phone’s battery
dying when you need it most, there might be good news around the corner. Scientists are
working on a weird new way to make your battery last longer. Hey guys, Amy here on DNews, and if you’re
anything like me you use your phone for a lot more than calling, things like emailing,
texting, posting to social media, and even streaming videos. In all these phone-based activities, that
communication is made possible because our phones connect to cell towers or Wi-Fi routers,
and those are both energy-intensive processes that drain our batteries. Cell phones broadcast radio signals in all
directions at once, which gives the fastest route to a nearby cell tower or router. But
not all the radio waves reach a destination. Robert Lee, a professor of electrical and
computer engineering at Ohio State University, estimates that as much as 97 percent of cell
phone signals never get anywhere, they just leave your phone and disappear into the ether. A team from Ohio State is on the case, working
on a way to recapture some of that lost energy and redirect it back into the phone’s battery,
not to recharge it but to slow the speed at which the battery drains. The idea of converting radio signals into
battery power may seem kinda out there but it’s actually not. Radio waves are really
just a very high-frequency form of alternating current or AC., just like what a power grid
supplies. But most devices need direct current or DC to operate. So for more than a century,
electronics manufacturers have installed an electrical circuit called a rectifier to convert
AC to DC. What the research team is hoping to do is
develop circuitry that could convert some of the lost radio signals into direct current
power that would be directed back into the phone’s battery, recycling some of the lost
power. The team from Ohio State has come up with
a system to identify which radio signals are being wasted and which can be harvested without
compromising the phone’s function, which is good because this system will be a balancing
act. The trick is to siphon off just enough of the radio signal to slow battery drainage
and extend its life without degrading the quality of voice calls or data transmission.
And though this will only work when the phone is transmitting, i.e. when you’re using
data rather than playing music or games offline, those transmitting functions are the energy-gobbling
ones. And it should be said that this is a very
different way of extending your phone’s life on a charge than simply coming up with
faster or more creative ways of charging your phone like with solar panels or even harnessing
your body heat into energy, which are both systems research teams around the world are
investigating to extend the lives of our smart phones. The Ohio State team will likely develop their
system into a physical add-on to a phone before hopefully working with manufacturers to incorporate
the circuitry directly into the device. So what would you guys do with a longer battery
life? Let us know in the comments below! You can
find DNews on Twitter, and I’m on there as @astVitnageSpace. And of course, for more
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