In a recent advancemnet, scientists including those of Indian origin, have created the first ever battery-less cell phone that consumes almost zero power. The invention uses ambient radio signals or light as its source of energy.
Shyam Gollakota, associate professor at the University of Washington (UW) in the US said, “We have built what we believe is the first functioning cell phone that consumes almost zero power”.
The study that was published in the journal 'Proceedings of the Association for Computing Machinery on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies', researchers have eradicated the quest the better batteries.
The prototype phone, built with off-the-shelf components, takes advantage of tiny vibrations in a phone’s microphone or speaker that occur when a person is talking into a phone or listening to a call.
To transmit speech, the phone uses vibrations from the device’s microphone to encode speech patterns in the reflected signals. To receive speech, it converts encoded radio signals into sound vibrations that are picked up by the phone’s speaker.
In the prototype device, the user presses a button to switch between these two ‘transmitting’ and ‘listening’ modes, researchers said.
The phone must rely on a nearby base station that relays its signal to the cellular network, in this case via Skype. The base station provides the bulk of the phone’s operational power, which the phone harvests from radio signals.
This technology conceivably could be integrated into standard cellular network infrastructure or Wi-Fi routers now commonly used to make calls.
“You could imagine in the future that all cell towers or Wi-Fi routers could come with our base station technology embedded in it, and if every house has a Wi-Fi router in it, you could get battery-free cell phone coverage everywhere”, said Vamsi Talla, a research associate at UW.
The battery-free phone does still require a small amount of energy to perform some operations. The prototype has a power budget of 3.5 micro-watts.