It doesn’t seem much, but the average Wi-Fi router can carry a sizable amount of power through the air. So much that the signals can be used to power other electrical appliances and gadgets as well. Researchers in US have used this Wi-Fi energy to power a surveillance camera. If this tech is successful, there would be no hassle of laying down power and communication lines for the CCTV cameras at all.
Not only the use mentioned above, but the usage of Wi-Fi signals to power devices will play a significant role in the internet of things. It is a concept in which objects or appliances will have fixed modifiers and controllers so that they won’t need human to human or human to computer interaction. Now each device can be brought online just by attaching a chip and converting Wi-Fi signals into power.
Engineers have known about the power carrying the potential of Wi-Fi signals, since their use in closed doors communication. They send out strong electromagnetic waves, and this energy could be harnessed while sending the data it is carrying. So, Wi-Fi wasn’t envisaged as just information and data sharing technology, it was also thought as a power transmission technology. Now these American engineers and scientists have harnessed this energy and named it PoWi-Fi or Power Wi-FI.
Although it was believed to be a power transmitter, no one has actually been able to harness energy efficiently, and the first step was to detect the amount of power available through these electromagnetic waves. They attached antennae to a temperature sensor and found out that their Wi-Fi signals couldn’t cross the practical threshold of 300 mini-volts, but they did come close. But that was in an ordinary case scenario as Wi-Fi routers are programmed to send out waves in bursts due to the flow of information. When this aspect is removed from the Wi-Fi signals, they have enough power to not only cross the operational threshold, but power other appliances too.
They were able to power a temperature camera sensor via Wi-Fi signals from a significant distance of five to six meters. They were also able to charge a particular coin-cell battery from nine meters. They also wanted to test their experiment for the cause of internet of things. Six homes were selected to test the prototype in a real life environment. It was done to prove that it doesn’t interfere with other Wi-Fi signals in the area, but that went largely unanswered due to mixed results. It can be resolved in further experiments.
Now these Wi-Fi-harnessing devices are being tested in different conditions so that they can be used for accessing the network as well as using the power. It would present an ideal situation for the future homes. The team hopes to overcome all these technical issues soon!