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Thread: UW scientists create the first battery-free mobile phone

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    UW scientists create the first battery-free mobile phone

    Device harvests the few microwatts it requires from ambient radio signals and light.
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    Re: UW scientists create the first battery-free mobile phone

    I think it's a bit of a stretch to call this a mobile phone to be fair; it's a very simple analogue radio transmitter with any sort of processing done on the base side, not unlike the sort of thing you make from Maplin project kits. And I remember making 'battery-free' crystal radio circuits in primary school, so the reception side is hardly groundbreaking. They might have improved the quiescent current over some existing products, but it's probably because it's not an area anyone was really focussing on, and there are solid limits of how much power you need to transmit a given distance.

    Solar roadways, that ultra-cheap BeSang 3D NAND we were supposed to have seen by now, and that solar-powered water harvesting device all spring to mind for examples of things which kinda make sense at the first stage, but fall apart in one way or another when it comes to actually making the things do what they're supposed to. Exceptional claims demand exceptional proof, especially when something claims to somehow outdo the huge companies with billions in R+D at their own game...

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    Re: UW scientists create the first battery-free mobile phone

    Yeah... as soon as they said it has a "base station" it becomes fairly apparent that all they've done (whilst still clever) is simply shift the majority of the power consumption away from the device to somewhere else, rather than actually reducing all power required for the entire process. Not really a huge leap forward in technological efficiency.. more of a side-step.

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    Re: UW scientists create the first battery-free mobile phone

    It's also far away from being practical for a whole host of reasons, not least because of things like encryption, authentication, multiplexing, signalling, etc. It's a fun little project, but we've had solar powered calculators for decades - this is much of the same thing - it doesn't need much power simply because of what it actually is.

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    Re: UW scientists create the first battery-free mobile phone

    Well, its a mobile phone in the same sense as a cordless landline phone. Useful round the house (perhaps) but as it stands, thats about it. whether it can be scaled up is another matter!
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    Re: UW scientists create the first battery-free mobile phone

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    its a mobile phone in the same sense as a cordless landline phone
    I'd say it has much more in common with a walkie talkie, the push-to-transmit button and all. At least a cordless landline handset does digital signal processing, bi-directional transmission, and encrypts what it's transmitting. But yeah.

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    whether it can be scaled up is another matter!
    Naw, it can't transmit a powerful enough signal. The nearby base station is going to be a hard requirement. Maybe with more power gathering components you could push out the range a bit. But it'll never be able to power all the other components that makes up a smartphone.

    It looks like a fun lab experiment in electrical engineering, but that's about it.
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    Re: UW scientists create the first battery-free mobile phone

    Quote Originally Posted by aidanjt View Post

    It looks like a fun lab experiment in electrical engineering, but that's about it.
    I did wonder if it was someone's MSc project
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