I’m a simple man. I understand certain things. How ambient Wi-Fi signals could be converted into enough energy to charge a BlackBerry is something I do NOT understand. However, RCA not only showed off the technology at CES but the device will apparently be available by the summer and it’ll only cost $40.
The Airnergy Charger is amazing.
This little box has, inside it, some kind of circuitry that harvests WiFi energy out of the air and converts it into electricity. This has been done before, but the Airnergy is able to harvest electricity with a high enough efficiency to make it practically useful: on the CES floor, they were able to charge a BlackBerry from 30% to full in about 90 minutes, using nothing but ambient WiFi signals as a power source.
So here’s where things get convoluted. Instead of just writing it off as crazy vaporware, you can’t help but consider the following:
1. It’s got a brand name that people have heard of and they’ve put a date and a price on it already. Granted, RCA isn’t so much of a company nowadays. It’s more of a purchasable brand, but you’d hope they wouldn’t license the name out to just anyone.
2. The technology apparently exists (according to the nerds over on Slashdot), yet it hasn’t been powerful enough to generate the juice to charge anything worthwhile. In this instance, it charged a BlackBerry “from 30% to full in about 90 minutes.”
If it does indeed work, imagine future applications of this technology. Your cell phone battery would eventually have it all built in and it’d recharge itself all day – even at just a trickle – whenever you were within range of Wi-Fi signals. For many of us, that’s most of the day.
I can’t honestly say if it’s bogus or not. Most of the sentiment from the commenters on the various blogs who have written about this thing has been more on the negative side. I contacted Mr. Wizard for his take but, alas, he passed away in 2007.
Any geniuses out there care to weigh in?