wifi logoWhen it comes to wireless charging, the current technology is such that we have to leave our devices on wireless charging pads, so while it technically is wireless, we aren’t as “free” as we would like. Now there has been some work towards creating “true” wireless charging, and one of the recent methods being tested involves using ambient WiFi signals.

When you’re out and about, you’ll probably notice that there are several WiFi hotspots around you, most of which are private and locked with a password, but the thing is their WiFi signals are still being broadcasted, so what researchers at the Sensors Systems Lab at the University of Washington have done is to take those WiFi signals and convert them into power.

Dubbed “power-over-wi-fi”, it seems that initial testing has proven that the technology works. The researchers have used this to power a small surveillance camera which takes photos and stores them. However before you get too excited, it should be pointed out that during their tests, they found that due to WiFi signals being broadcasted in bursts, it was too unreliable to be used as a steady source of power.

What the team did was modify standard hotspots and routers to send out a broadcast noise to allow the WiFi signal to remain constant. This means that don’t expect your WiFi routers to suddenly start being able to power your devices. According to one of the researchers Vamsi Talla, “The ability to deliver power wirelessly to a wide range of autonomous devices and sensors is hugely significant. Powi-fi could be the enabling technology that finally brings the internet of things to life.”

In the meantime if you’d like to read their paper in its entirety, you can do so by heading on over to its website.

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