Researchers at Duke University have developed a device that allows mobile phones to be recharged wirelessly by using the power of Wi-Fi signals.

Has the time passed that mobile phones have to be ‘put on a drip’ every night before going to bed and that you can’t travel without packing a charger in your suitcase? If it were up to researchers Allen Hawkes, Alexander Katko and Steve Cummer of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, that would certainly be the case. They have developed a device that can charge phones wirelessly using the power of Wi-Fi signals.

Following this discovery, science website Science.nl reported: "The device converts microwaves - wirelessly - into energy that can be used to charge the battery of your phone or any other small electronic device. The device works much like a solar panel that transforms energy from light into electricity. Only this device uses quite different sources: signals from Wi-Fi and satellites amongst others. Just like solar panels the device is able to achieve an efficiency of about 37 percent. For the development of the device researchers made use of so-called meta materials: structures that are able to collect the different forms of energy that are stored in waves and use them for practical purposes. With some modifications, it should be possible to build this energy-collecting meta material into a phone. This phone would then be able to charge itself wirelessly when not in use.

The moment that an invention like this will actually be launched on the market, is approaching steadily. Newspaper Algemeen Dagblad recently reported that a group of manufacturers, including Samsung, has joined forces in the Alliance for WiPower (A4WP), which is developing a system by which phones charge themselves using their own electromagnetic field. A technique which has now been proven to work effectively at Duke University.