In the future, you may be able to pull power out of thin air.
A team of researchers at Sensor Systems Lab at the University of Washington is working on a Wi-Fi-based device to do just that. The device, called Power-over-Wi-Fi or Po Wi-Fi, can power electronics up to 28 feet away using Wi-Fi signals.
Invented by a Ph.D. student named Vamsi Talla and colleagues, Po Wi-Fi uses a wireless router to provide a field of wireless power while you continue using the Wi-Fi signal from the router.
Here’s How It Works:
Talla, who is originally from India, realized that Wi-Fi routers, which could be located all around, were transmitting energy signals similar to the operating voltages needed to power consumer electronics. But the problem was signals were intermittent.
Wi-Fi routers usually do not send out steady signals; they do it in short transmissions which mean the routers could not be used for Po Wi-Fi in its present condition. So the researchers updated the software to make routers deliver a constant signal.
Researchers were able to maintain a steady flow of low-level power to provide enough power to a battery-free camera to capture an image every 35 minutes.
Researchers believe that Po Wi-Fi can be used in the future to create charging hotspots in public places.