Power Wi-Fi: Charge Your Device With a WiFi Connection

Power Wi-Fi

Devised to rival against the likes of Apple's HomeKit and Samsung's ARTIK, Google recently launched it's own Internet of Things (IoT) platform called Brillo. Much like its rivals, Google's Brillo platform offers a system where all its devices can communicate information online as well as interact with each other via an internet connection.

But although many major tech giants have set out their IoT agendas, there is a foreseeable snag that could hinder the establishment of IoT devices. As more everyday items like our watches, clothes, cars and furniture are made to accommodate the IoT, these items would essentially become of a more electronic nature, and very little has been said in regards to how all these devices will remain powered and chargeable without needing a wall socket or battery pack.

To address this issue, researchers have developed a system that has the potential to boost the adoption of IoT around the world. It is called Power Wi-Fi, and it essentially charges devices via a Wi-Fi router. Though it is still very much in its testing phases, the technology is bound to gain a lot of support. With today's fast-pace and on-the-go lifestyle, having to retreat to a wall socket every few hours is simply inconvenient.

For its testing, a research team led by University of Washington-Seattle's doctoral student Vamsi Talla, along with his fellow Sensor System Lab colleagues, used a battery-free camera and a temperature sensor. Both of the items were equipped a with Wi-Fi chip and were placed in six homes with a single Wi-Fi router to power them. The team fixed the routers to broadcast a specific frequency and kept it a constant energy in order to power the two devices.

However, although Power Wi-Fi does seem like a great concept, it is unlikely to render wall, USB and traditional wireless charging obsolete. In the Talla experiment, after 35 minutes of charging, the low-power VGA Omnivision Camera was only able to take a single photo before running out of power. Right now, a major drawback is Power Wi-Fi's tiny output of power.

Another present flaw is Power Wi-Fi's limited capacity to meet the minimum voltage requirement of most basic devices because, like most wireless hardware, the power drains slowly during silent periods.

Though one shouldn't be discouraged by the adversity faced by Power Wi-Fi. Like many emerging energy solutions, it will face many challenges before it is fully accepted. Just think of the many war stories that solar and wind power have to share. In the future, utilizing Power Wi-Fi to charge everyday small items like smartphones, smartwatches and fitness trackers is a high possibility, and it could happen sooner that you might anticipate.

Image: Getty Images

More about: WiFi, IoT, Power

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