At the University of Washington, researchers have successfully made a battery-free phone that functions effectively and just like any other phone. The test was done by completing full-on Skype calls. If this is possible right now, when will every smartphone company be adding this innovation to their devices and how does it work?
To answer the first question, it won’t be in the next couple of years. While this test was successful, it is of course just a prototype and has been successfully mass-produced. The process would include getting a patent to sell it to companies, figuring out how to routinely complete the production process, and trying to convince other smartphone companies of why it would be worth it to even use their technology.
To answer how this works, the phone picks up on radio signals and/or light and converts it to power by a function of I don’t even know how. To simplify it for you, think of a solar panel; it follows the sun’s light and finds a way to pick up that energy and converts it to power more relevant to us. I could give you examples for windmills, dams and all sorts of things, but it would be wasting your time. All you really need to know is that the science behind it has been proven to work.
Yes, it is fantastic that we are constantly improving our technology, but there’s another side to this “innovation”. How are we supposed to shut down the portable battery business without batting an eye? Think of all the money involved in portable chargers, battery cases, even charging cords. All of those companies would lose a very marketable branch of their profits and for some their entire catalog of products. People would lose their jobs, futures and for some the business, they built from scratch.
When we discuss improvements in technology there are always going to be reasons to go ahead with them while having drawbacks to heavily consider. The reason that we aren’t seeing this new feature everywhere within the next couple months is that they are in no rush at all. The people who make external power devices are sometimes also the people who make the phones, like Apple with the Smart Battery Case, and Motorola with their portable chargers. Trying to convince Apple of losing immediate profits in order to slowly gain new profits over a decade is like trying to tell a dog he can have a treat now or four later; they aren’t listening to you, they’re just thinking out the treat right in from of them. Since there’s not much more to say, I’ll just modify the last sentence of Great Gatsby to make it more relevant to this discussion: “so we beat on, boats against the flow of cash, jumping the gun foolishly into the future.”