Radio Waves Could Allow Smartphones To Charge Themselves

Wireless charging developments pioneered by two tech companies could soon enable smartphones to charge themselves from their users' pockets.

Wireless charging developments pioneered by two tech companies could soon enable smartphones to charge themselves from their users' pockets.

Ohio-based Nikola Labs will begin shipping smartphone cases that extend the battery lives of devices this year, while California-based Energous Corp. will release new wireless chargers and cases in 2016.

Nikola Labs' cases search for nearby cellular towers and Wi-Fi routers to extend battery life, while Energous' system would only enable users to charge their phones at distances of up to 20 feet.

The companies' methods, however, could one day allow phones equipped with special receivers to convert collected radio signals into DC power.

Energous officials told CNNMoney that it an unnamed "top tier" tech company plans to build wireless receivers into "millions of devices."

The technology could also make a substantial impact on the toy industry and enable broader use of wearable technology.

The Apple Watch, for example, was plagued by inconsistent battery life following its April launch. Wireless charging could allow wearers to keep the watch on their wrists all day.

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