Opinion: Freevolt could be the wireless charging breakthrough the IoT needs
(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/akindo)
Lord Drayson, CEO and Chairman of Drayson Technologies, introduced a new wireless charging technology earlier today called 'Freevolt' which could solve the battery issues faced by a lot of wireless devices which make up the Internet of Things.
Freevolt turns ambient radio frequency (RF) waves into usable power for low-consumption devices which means some devices will never require being taken offline for recharging or a change of batteries. “With Freevolt, we have created something special. For the first time, we have solved the problem of harvesting usable energy from a small RF signal," says Lord Drayson.
The 'harvester' consists of a multi-band antenna and rectifier which can absorb energy from various RF bands, at close to any orientation. Rather than let it go to waste, Freevolt can harness residual power from wireless and broadcast networks such as 2G, 3G, 4G, WiFi, and Digital TV.
It's not the first time a company has attempted to crack wireless charging, but it appears to be the first to be successful in bringing a solution to market. In fact, the system behind Freevolt has been around since the 1960s when NASA experimented with it. As the frequencies are so low - just 20 to 30 nanowatts - the technology never made it into commercial use, until now.
“Companies have been researching how to harvest energy from WiFi, cellular and broadcast networks for many years,” says Lord Drayson. “But it is difficult, because there is only a small amount of energy to harvest and achieving the right level of rectifying efficiency has been the issue – up until now."
The first commercial deployment of Freevolt will be in the CleanSpace Tag air sensor which is manufactured in the UK and is currently in the process of being crowdfunded. By integrating with Freevolt, the CleanSpace Tag will never require a battery-swap or manual recharge.
For the IoT, enabling devices to never require a recharge will open up a world of new possibilities and ensure fewer barriers to adoption. David Helms, Chief Product Officer at Radius Networks, said: “Radius Networks is always looking for ways to reduce the cost of powering devices over the lifetime of our deployments. Freevolt offers us the promise to power devices perpetually so we are actively looking for ways to exploit this technology.”
A Freevolt developer kit will also be available which is aimed at getting hardware hackers and other DIY types involved. There's no pricing or availability for the developer kit yet, but Drayson and his team are ready for commercial partners from today.
For more information about Freevolt, head to this link.
Do you think Freevolt is a potential breakthrough for wireless charging? Let us know in the comments.
Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their IoT use-cases? Attend the IoT Tech Expo World Series events with upcoming shows in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.
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