Ever thought about how useful a router can be to your smart devices? Well, you might want to give it a thought now, as a team of researchers at the University of Washington have discovered a breakthrough technology that enables an ordinary Wi-Fi router to charge various devices, and that includes Apple iPhone and Android smartphones too.
The router can charge smart devices from a distance up to 28-feet away and it will still be enough to stay connected to the internet. The researchers are still working on the project and after few tweaks the technology will be made available to the general public.
You must be wondering how it works? Well, the pre-requisites for the process to work is just a router and sensors. The sensors are required so that they can convert the RF power sent by a router into DC power to charge up the batteries. The router would be required to be tweaked with a firmware update so that it can send out the power to the batteries without causing any interruption in router’s functionality of connecting to the internet.
The experiment was done by the researchers in six individual homes, where they have set six Asus RT-AC68U routers. Although the routers were pretty old-school, but with a firmware update they were good for charging devices’ batteries and still staying connected to the internet. All that means that with just one firmware update, we can turn our ordinary routers into wireless chargers. During the experiment, all the routers were working perfectly fine in both the ways (staying connected to internet and charging devices). Interestingly, one of the tester also claimed that his router’s internet speed increased ever since they initiated the experiment.
Bryce Kellogg, Researcher, University of Washington, said, “If we wanted to just blast as much power as we possibly can, that would kill your Wi-Fi, because you’d have power on the channel all the time. We optimized the router so that we can deliver what seems like, to the sensor, constant power without impacting your Wi-Fi too much. Instead of having continuous power on one of your Wi-Fi channels, we split it among your three non-overlapping Wi-Fi channels. That allows us to deliver about the same amount of power without impacting any one channel very much.”
The school has roped in a start-up to partner with the researchers in order to turn the project into a full-fledged product. There already exist a product by a company known as ‘Energous’, which sends the RF power via air, but it fails to keep the internet connection alive at the same time and that’s where the researcher from University of Washington have cracked the code.
If all goes as planned, we might soon see a product that will make our lives much easier. It will facilitate us to browse the net without worrying about the battery.