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New Charger Harvests Energy from Wi-Fi Signals

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but if they make wi-fi hotspots more efficient... / billing?

Rich Brome

Jan 12, 2010, 2:19 PM
Funny how this comes out at the same time that an industry group has recognized how much power wi-fi hotspots (among other telecom infrastructure) waste, and is trying to reduce that energy waste:

http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/10/01/12/1628216/Be ... »

So if there's all this excess energy in the air, should it simply be curtailed, or harnessed? If it's harnessed for wireless battery charging, the next logical question is who pays? Do we need a billing standard? Could you choose to charge your phone just by sitting in a Starbucks, and have the electricity cost billed to your Starbucks card? (Or AT&T bill?)
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60dollarcarcharger

Jan 12, 2010, 2:33 PM
or... how much bandwidth does this device waste?
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Rich Brome

Jan 12, 2010, 2:38 PM
Yes, it seem to me that in a situation where the hotspot is operating at capacity, this device must impact other users to function.

In a situation where the hotspot is not operating at full capacity, it might be able to function without impacting anyone else, although I'd like to see proof of that, and of course I expect the hotspot would still draw more power from the AC outlet.
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Caucasian

Jan 12, 2010, 5:56 PM
I'm sure they could attempt to pass cost on to customers in a setting like a Starbucks. But they could only do so by raising costs of their coffee, drinks, and baked goods. They can't really charge you for taking advantage of something they broadcast unless they can find a way to encrypt or monitor how much of that you actually harness.

It would be a cool idea though. Having a device that whenever inside a car, or a coffee shop, at your cubible or in your home charges itself just by *being* there.
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Rich Brome

Jan 12, 2010, 6:07 PM
I wonder if that's true, or if it works in a way that occupies a "slot" on the hotspot (not the proper term, I know) or in a way that degrades service for other users in any way. If either is true, then I think wi-fi equipment makers will take the view that this is exploiting a flaw in the wi-fi standard, and they will develop new technology to block it, or control access to it (and therefore potentially bill for it.)
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Caucasian

Jan 12, 2010, 6:43 PM
Here is an excerpt from the Engadget article on it. Looks like it isn't anything they could block entirely. So it looks like kill the output power of the WIFI unit (and in doing so kill the range or people will jack power from it.

"We don't usually associate RCA with new and innovative technologies, but we think know they're on to something with its Airnergy power system, which harvests energy from WiFi signals. Shipping this summer, the pocketable dongle picks up WiFi signals from the air and manages to charge an internal battery through some magic inside. You don't have to connect to a network, you just have to be in a place that has signal, and it will automatically charge up. As if we weren't intrigued already, they told us t...
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Rich Brome

Jan 12, 2010, 6:57 PM
I assumed it didn't actually require successful authentication. That doesn't mean it doesn't work by attempting - then aborting - connections, or something similar.
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Azeron

Jan 12, 2010, 9:14 PM
*Groan* Rolling Eyes
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Jayshmay

Jan 12, 2010, 9:14 PM
What I don't get is why they can do this with ghost electricity from wifi, but not ghost electricity from other appliances also such as HDTVs, Blu-Ray plays, ...and other appliances that emit ghost electricity.

Gosh, this sounds like such cool Star Trek futuristic tek!!!!
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Rich Brome

Jan 12, 2010, 9:39 PM
It's not "ghost electricity", it's radio energy being broadcast by a radio, amplifier and antenna. The other appliances you mentioned are not actively broadcasting energy in the form of radio waves.
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Jayshmay

Jan 12, 2010, 9:53 PM
Oh, well I get what you mean by not emitting radio waves, but isn't the reason some companies, such as Nokia have made energy efficient chargers that stop sending electicity to the device when it's fully charged is because before such chargers there have been a lot of whats called "ghost electricity", that is what it's called, right? Like even when HDTVs are turned off they are still drawing power. Oh but that can't be harnessed because it isn't be emitted. Well theres gotta be a way to get more energy out of the air some how, maybe that's too far off of a tech for our generation.
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Kagehiru

Jan 13, 2010, 11:23 AM
Alot of electronics put themselves into a "wait" state, a lower power state that still lets them accept some outside input, whether it's to wake up and start making coffee at a certain time, or begin a scheduled backup or just turn on at the touch of a button and be instantly available for use. Many of these states are energy efficient only in comparison to what they normally draw, and even the ones that are pretty efficient still draw a charge that adds up over time or mass quantity.

Additionaly, a lot of electronics simply by virtue of being plugged into the wall create a circuit that "bleeds" some energy, whether the device is on or not. So yeah, there is a lot of incentive to improve efficiency, especially as we migrate to electro...
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