Smart objects: can magnetic waves serve as battery alternatives?

  • Gadgets
  • Friday, 28 Jan 2022

Oppo is working on solutions using magnetic waves to power connected objects. — Oppo

In a new white paper dedicated to zero-energy communications, Oppo envisions the future of connected objects charged using waves already present in their environment, rather than via traditional batteries. This would enable the development of sustainable devices that are less harmful to the environment.

In terms of both practicality and environmental friendliness, over-consumption of battery power is a real problem. The ideal would be to design future connected objects without batteries that are able to capture energy in another way. This is the vision of Chinese manufacturer Oppo.

The concept could take the form of small electronic tags capable of capturing energy from cellular signals (5G, eventually 6G), Bluetooth, or WiFi, that could be attached to objects. This would have many advantages, starting with enhanced durability, but it could also lead to objects that are more compact and less expensive to produce. It should be noted that these tags would also allow for owners to locate these objects when they are lost. The first applications could involve certain small domestic appliances or even connected clothing.

This concept of tags that capture energy via surrounding waves is not new. In 2021, American researchers announced that they were working on the possibility of transforming part of the 5G network into an electrical network capable of recharging small connected objects. To do this, they developed tiny antennas that blend in with their surroundings. The idea is to allow these objects to be constantly charged without affecting the quality of the 5G network.

A French startup, Dracula Technologies, has developed an innovative solution that takes the form of a small photovoltaic module and allows these objects to be continuously charged via either natural or artificial light. In this case, light is the energy solution, regardless of its intensity. In theory, a connected electronic object equipped with this technology would no longer need a battery or to be charged up manually. – AFP Relaxnews

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