Nikola Phone Case Harvests RF Energy Into Additional Battery Charge

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While the Nikola looks like a regular iPhone case, it does much more than simply house your smartphone in a different enclosure. Instead, it comes with integrated hardware that allows it to harvest RF signals that it then converts to usable energy that goes straight into your smartphone’s battery.

Using a proprietary harvesting technology patented by Ohio State University, the case take RF energy that will otherwise be lost to the ether and converts it to DC power. It feeds that power in small trickles directly to the phone’s battery, allowing you to enjoy extra juice without having to plug in throughout the course of the day. Maybe, you can finally leave that LEGO power bank at home (or maybe not, if you play with it a lot).

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The Nikola uses a built-in antenna in the case to collect unused WiFi and cellular signals transmitted from the phone. It doesn’t harvest much, just 36 milliwatts during a 56-millisecond pulse charge that repeats every 120 milliseconds, but the company claims it’s enough to give the phone as much as a 30 percent battery boost throughout the course of the day (provided, of course, your phone maintains a regular cellular and WiFi connection). Because it feeds the battery in small trickles, chances are, you won’t even notice the extra power coming in, although a 30 percent increase should be plenty useful, especially if you frequently find yourself running dry towards nighttime, like a lot of people. Since it also takes erstwhile wasted energy, it should have no adverse effect on data transmission or call quality, so everything should work the way it always has on your phone.

A Kickstarter campaign is currently running to fund Nikola. Pledges to reserve a case for either the iPhone 6 or the Samsung Galaxy S6 starts at $99.

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2 Responses

  1. Christian

    This is such an awesome usage of natural-energy to power phones. What a great idea! I never knew that a phone could be powered by RF signals this way, let alone unused airwaves! Can they make one of these devices to collect comparable levels of energy from other devices (legally)? The price definitely seems right, and seems a worthy investment considering the money is spent elsewhere on other battery-pack ‘gadgets’ anyway. 30 percent? That’s incredible, but I can appreciate why it would be hard to notice if it’s not only slowly collecting the power, but also slowly utilizing the power making it difficult to tell directly when the added-power is being utilized.

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  2. Mark

    I hope more devices like this come out, with solar power options and ones that give longer-lasting battery. I am on the go a lot for work, and using the GPS feature on my phone, including when walking, can be a real drain on the phones battery. The price looks solid, and I like how they incorporated “hijacking” radio waves to convert to power, very resourceful!

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