RCA creating Wi-Fi-powered gadget charger

RCA shows off an energy-harvesting battery that converts Wi-Fi signals to DC power, which is suitable for charging up cell phones.

Here's an energy source most of us haven't considered tapping: Wi-Fi wireless signals.

At CES 2010, RCA was showing a prototype of a handheld energy-harvesting battery designed to convert energy transmitted in a Wi-Fi signal into DC power, according to a report in OhGizmo.

The device, called the Airnergy, uses an antenna and circuitry to harvest the energy and an internal battery to store the electrical charge. A company representative told OhGizmo that they were able to charge a BlackBerry from 30 percent to full charge in about 90 minutes using the ambient Wi-Fi signal at CES, although the charge time varies depending on how close the battery is to the original signal.

The goal is to have a product that's smaller than a smartphone and has a mini USB port in the market this summer in the range of $40 to $50. Next year, RCA would like to integrate the energy harvesting into a battery that could act as a replacement for cell phone batteries for the same cost as a replacement, a company executive said in the interview. There is no additional information on the Airnergy on RCA's Web site.

There are a number of energy-harvesting technologies, but none have been able to successfully free people from the power cords of their cell phones and music players. The challenge is often getting a sufficient amount of energy. One company, called M2E Power , set out to build motion-powered chargers for small devices but never fully succeeded and its assets were sold to a new investor.

About the author

Martin LaMonica is a senior writer covering green tech and cutting-edge technologies. He joined CNET in 2002 to cover enterprise IT and Web development and was previously executive editor of IT publication InfoWorld.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments
Latest Galleries from CNET
Best mobile games of 2014
Nissan gives new Murano bold style (pictures)
Top great space moments in 2014 (pictures)
This is it: The Audiophiliac's top in-ear headphones of 2014 (pictures)
ZTE's wallet-friendly Grand X (pictures)
Lenovo reprises clever design for the Yoga Tablet 2 (Pictures)