Self-Charging Smartphones: Something to Look Out For

January 26, 2012
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Throughout the years, many smartphone users have always been bothered with the issue of their device running out of battery life too quickly. It has even reached instances wherein the smartphone user resorts to deleting unnecessary apps or even switching off some settings on their phone just so they can conserve their battery. This has been a major issue with smartphone users either on Android, iOS, RIM, or any other platform.

Fortunately, a bunch of scientists at Cambridge University may finally be on to something to address this issue. With their new discoveries, they will be able to help smartphone users to enjoy a longer battery life and get more from their units. The answer, as they have discovered, is on waste energy.

On an article published in IEEE, wasted light has been identified as a probable key to providing extra battery life for smartphones. Considering that people are now using their devices extensively on games, apps, videos, and whatnots; there are many who wonder the factuality of using light energy to conserve mobile battery life.

What Cambridge University Researchers Have Discovered

Taking the concept of Solar Power, these researchers aim for the process of using this source of energy on the smartphone to produce light that has escaped from the OLED screen. Based on the study conducted by Professor Arokia Nathan and researcher Arman Ahnood, they were able to pinpoint that 36% of light produced by the screen of a mobile device is actually projected towards the display seen by the eyes. There is then the presence of the remaining light that escapes from the edges of the display. This is what researches believe could be the key to prolonging battery life.

A Scientific Reasoning

By producing a prototype, the significant areas that explain the logic get to be realized. However, there is a big issue of the voltage spikes that are believed to cause damage to the battery while it is charging. Because of the different light intensities, the smartphone display will have a number of solar cells which will manage it. These solar cells are composed of thin-film hydrogenated amorphous silicon, a technology capable of harnessing both ambient and wasted light surrounding the user. Paired with the thin film super-capacitor, the voltage can be balanced out in order to stop battery damage.

Additionally, there will be another set of solar cells strategically arranged surrounding the device display. The purpose of this set will be to capture any light that manages to escape from the main display of a smartphone screen. As believed, an average smartphone is capable of producing power of up to 5 milliwatts using this method and technology. Just imagine how much this could add to battery life!

 

So yes, soon; smartphones will be capable of charging themselves. Awesome technology!

 

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