Power harvester uses Wi-Fi to charge wireless devices

RCA device might ship this summer; other wireless charging devices emerging

RCA showed a prototype of its Wi-Fi Hotspot Power Harvester called Airnergy that's designed to convert Wi-Fi radio signals into DC power for charging small wireless devices such as smartphones.

The small device called the Airnergy, is about 2 in. by 3 in. in size and is expected to sell for US$39 to $49 this summer. RCA is working on a smaller version that would take the place of a battery inside a handheld device and would sell for around $59. That smaller version might ship in 2011, according to a demonstration at the 2010 International CES recorded on video by Geeky-Gadgets.com .

RCA officials could not be reached to confirm the details. According to a spokesman in the video demonstration, the device was able to charge a BlackBerry Bold with about 30% power in 90 minutes using a nearby Wi-Fi access point. The amount of charging time depends on a user's proximity to the Wi-Fi hot spot.

Demonstrations of wireless chargers have been a staple of CES for several years, and some products promised in 2008 have not materialized.

Some products, such as the Dell Latitude Z laptop, allow charging by placing the laptop directly on a wireless charging stand .

And Fulton Innovation LLC showed products and prototypes at CES. One Fulton technology concept powers a 12-watt light bulp from a transmitter placed 35 inches away.

Wireless charging could prove popular. Powermat USA showed new wireless charging mats for handheld computers at prices ranging from $39 to $149, and the company's CEO said Powermat has sold 750,000 devices since the company launched in the U.S. two months ago.

One blogger questioned why a charger would be needed, since a person within a hot spot might also be close enough to plug a device into a power outlet to recharge it. The usefulness of the device would depend partly on how close a user must be to the Wi-Fi access point, and whether a power outlet is available.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld . Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen , send e-mail to mhamblen@computerworld.com or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed .

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags wirelesssmartphoneWi-Fi

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Essentials

Mobile

Exec

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?