This iPhone Case Charges Your Phone Using Radio Waves

Photo: Courtesy Nikola Labs.
What if there were a way you would never have to charge your iPhone again? That's right: no charging cables, and no battery packs. We're not there yet, but turns out, we're getting closer. A new start-up aims to build an iPhone case that uses patented technology to harvest energy out of the air, so you don't have to plug in so much.

Nikola Labs, which debuted at TechCrunch Disrupt New York this week, plans to collect radio frequencies from the air and transform them into DC power via a specially designed iPhone case. That would mean you could ditch that Lightning charger (at least for longer than you normally would). The case is designed to repurpose 90% of the energy your phone wastes as 3G, 4G, and LTE broadcast signals — so it can last 30% longer. It doesn't have any sort of built-in power storage like a battery or capacitors; the case simply trickles the juice straight into your iPhone. This lets it remain more slender than typical charging-case models.

The company has some credibility behind its tech, too: Nikola Labs is co-founded by Dr. Rob Lee, the former chair of Ohio State University's Electrical and Computer Engineering department. Plus, it's licensing from (and building this technology in conjunction with) Ohio State. So, the theory and process are legit.  

Nikola Labs gets its name from the great Nikola Tesla, the Edison-era inventor who came up with the concept of harvesting energy from radio waves in the air. (Never heard of him? Recommended reading here.)

Nikola Labs plans to launch a Kickstarter next month, and the product would go on sale for $99 roughly four months after that. The entire project sounds mighty ambitious, but we're cautiously optimistic that it could help us eke out some extra Snapchatting time each day. 
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