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Wirelessly-powered phones on sale within four years, says Nokia

Handsets will convert radiation into usable power

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Nokia has claimed that by 2013 it could become possible to recharge your phone from the ambient electromagnetic radiation (AER) emitted by Wi-Fi transmitters, mobile phone antennae and TV masts.

The Finnish phone firm has developed a prototype AER phone able to suck up 3-5mW of power, but said it’s working towards a prototype that’ll slowly recharge itself by gathering up to 50mW, sufficient to trickle-charge a phone that's turned off.

Markku Rouvala, of the Nokia Research Centre in Cambridge, told journal MIT Technology Review that AER power generation works in a similar way to the method through which RFID tags power themselves: the conversion of electromagnetic waves into electrical signals.

Nokia is working on wideband receivers capable of sucking in energy from 500MHz transmissions up to 10GHz.

“I would say it is possible to put this project into a product within three to four years,” added Rouvala.

The firm’s keeping mum about its specific plans for now. But Rouvala hinted that, ultimately, AER would probably be used alongside several other energy-harvesting technologies, including solar power. ®

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