Cell phone users may someday be able to get rid of their phone cords and chargers, because researchers at the University of Washington have created a battery-free cell phone! On average, a cell phone only lasts eight hours before needing to be charged. With this invention, people can use a cell phone that consumes almost no electricity and never runs out of power. This phone is more convenient, and it is also better for the environment than phones with batteries.
Modern cell phones use a lot of energy from a battery to record the sound of your voice and send it to the nearest cell phone tower. Instead, the researchers' new phone design uses the tiny vibrations in the phone that are created by your voice as you speak. It turns those vibrations into the energy needed to send and receive sounds. This invention uses less power than a regular cell phone. It doesn't even need a battery at all because it generates the energy it needs as it is being used.
Right now, the prototype phone needs to be within 31 feet of a base station in order to work. In the future, researchers hope to improve their design so that the phone can be used in more places. They are also hoping to make the battery-free phone work anywhere with standard cell phone towers or Wi-Fi access. This invention could make it easier for people without reliable electricity to have access to a cell phone.
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(Image Credit: University of Washington News)