In a ground-breaking innovation, scientists, including those of Indian origin, have created a new battery-less cell phone for the first time. The newly-developed phone consumes almost zero power and runs by harvesting energy from ambient radio signals or light. Notably, the team also made Skype calls through this battery-free phone.
“We have built what we believe is the first functioning cell phone that consumes almost zero power,” said Shyam Gollakota, associate professor at the University of Washington (UW) in the US.
Researchers abolished a power-hungry step in most contemporary cellular transmissions converting analogue signals that put across sound into digital data that a phone can recognise.
As an alternative, the battery-free cell phone takes benefit of tiny vibrations in a phone’s microphone or speaker that happen when a person is talking into a phone or listening to a call. To transmit speech, the phone uses vibrations from the device’s microphone to encode speech patterns in the reflected signals.
To receive speech, it changes encoded radio signals into sound vibrations that that are picked up by the phone’s speaker. In the prototype device, the user presses a button to switch between these two ‘transmitting’ and ‘listening’ modes, researchers said.
Researchers were able to receive incoming calls, dial out and place callers on hold with the battery-free phone.