According to new research from the University of Washington, devices in the future may not require a charging cable

As convenient as a smartphone seems, ensuring there’s an outlet nearby to charge it (or a portable charger) can make it cumbersome. However, new research from the University of Washington suggests that phones in the future may not require batteries. A battery-free prototype phone made by a team from the university only requires 3.5 microwatts of power to operate. The phone draws power from radio signals and residual light while it’s outside, making use of a solar cell the size of a grain of rice.

Though the team designed their prototype using off-the-shelf components, it was still able to accept and hold calls received from Skype. Future prototypes will have an e-ink display and the capacity to stream video.

Battery Free Phone

As convenient as a smartphone seems, ensuring there’s an outlet nearby to charge it (or a portable charger) can make it cumbersome. However, new research from the University of Washington suggests that phones in the future may not require batteries. A battery-free prototype phone made by a team from the university only requires 3.5 microwatts of power to operate. The phone draws power from radio signals and residual light while it’s outside, making use of a solar cell the size of a grain of rice.