By Evan Ackerman
This thing is, seriously, the highlight of CES for me (so far) this year. 3D TVs and eBook readers are fine, but there’s nothing amazing about them.
The Airnergy Charger is amazing, it’s something one might see in sci-fi movies or tv shows. This little box has, inside it, some kind of circuitry that harvests WiFi energy out of the air and converts it into electricity. This has been done before, but the Airnergy is able to harvest electricity with a high enough efficiency to make it practically useful: on the CES floor, they were able to charge a BlackBerry from 30% to full in about 90 minutes, using nothing but ambient WiFi signals as a power source.
The Airnergy has a battery inside it, so you can just carry it around and as long as you’re near some WiFi, it charges itself. Unlike a solar charger, it works at night and you can keep it in your pocket. Of course, proximity to the WiFi source and the number of WiFi sources is important, but at the rate it charges, if you have a home wireless network you could probably just leave anywhere in your house overnight and it would be pretty close to full in the morning.
Here is the really, really unbelievable part: RCA says that the USB charger will be available this summer for $40, and a battery with the WiFi harvesting technology will be available soon after. I mean, all kinds of people are pushing wireless charging, but this would hands down take the cake… It doesn’t need a pad and it’s charging all the time, for free, in just about any urban environment.
We didn’t think you’d believe all this, so we made RCA explain it all on video:
Yeah, we’ll definitely be keeping you updated on this one.
Update: According to George from top5hosting.co.uk those wifi battery chargers did not have success for a few reasons:
– When you draw power off of it, you reduce greatly the WiFi signal and it acts as if the router is under constant DoS(Denial of service) attack
– It is not a ‘green’ technology. It is less efficient than a plug-in charger and it comes from the same source. What this device amounts to is theft from whoever pays the electric bill where the router is located. If it’s in your own home then it’s just a waste of energy.
Wireless charging is on the horizon, but not through your WiFi.