New WiFi Technology uses Routers for Wireless Charging

There are a variety of ways to charge an electronic device / smartphone.

  1. Electric power supply with an adapter: This is the traditional way.
  2. Connecting smartphone to a PC or a laptop via USB
  3. Connecting smartphone to a power bank.

All above involve some kind of cable going from the source to the smartphone. What if there is a way that does not involve cables to charge a smartphone? That will be really “smart”. Well, if the proof of concept is something to go by, it looks technically feasible.

Scientists are developing wireless charging that can allow charging from a maximum distance of 30 feet (9.1 m).

University of Washington (UW) scientists are working on a new technology called, very creatively, “Power over Wi-Fi.” Idea is to use existing wireless networks to remove the dependency on charging cords.

As per Vamsi Talla, who is one of the project’s researchers, commented that the Wi-Fi’s “huge infrastructure” already exists. A practical application is to channel the structures’ wireless power to homes and offices, for functions such as tablet charging.

“Power over Wi-Fi” will change pre-existing radio frequency (RF) power into direct current (DC), through access point Wi-Fi routers. According to Times Union, it does not need any dedicated hardware either.

One technical challenge is that the maximum power output for one router is limited.

UW scientists overcame this problem by using router software that causes the wireless hardware to transmit power signals when user traffic is below a certain level. It’s a three-channel power transmission that will allow for a continuous connection when the device is being charged. That way, it will not overload any single Wi-Fi channel.

One more practical use of the new WiFi technology is to power up the Internet of Things (IoT). This solution will be more workable since there will be more and more small and low-power devices in tomorrow’s homes and workplaces.

The pilot test of the new WiFi technology was done on a surveillance camera which was 17 feet (5.2 m) away from a wireless router and rechargeable batteries.