We know that the mmWave 5G spectrum offers the fastest download data rate despite some disadvantages; these signals do not travel far and are not easily able to penetrate buildings. But what they can do is create energy that could one day replace batteries and other power sources.
Georgia Tech alumni Jimmy Hester will serve as a senior laboratory advisor to the team working on this development. Hester says 5G base stations operate at high frequencies so they can “focus on power.” In other words, “What we’re talking about is more about the devices’ own intentional energization by focusing the beam toward the device to turn it on and get power.”
5G signals can be utilized and used to provide wireless power
With the Rotman lens, the field of view of the energy-collecting “sticker” device increases from a 20-degree “pen beam” to 120 degrees. This facilitates the collection of mmWave energy in the 28 GHz band. Eid says that if you place a sticker on drones, you will be able to collect energy from 5G base stations around the city.
Still, this system is in its infancy, and currently straight-line labels can collect only 6 microtons of energy, enough to start small IoT devices from a distance of 180 meters (590.55 feet). In laboratory tests, the device has been able to collect 21 times the amount.
Tentzeris says his team is looking for funding and is particularly interested in working with wireless operators. In this way, wireless service providers can place labels in cities at the same time as they build their 5G networks. Manos adds: “In the early 2000s, companies moved from speech to data. Now, using this technology, they can also add power to data / communication.”
Looking to the future, a rectangular sticker may end up embedded in wearable or sewn clothing. Regarding the economics of label making, Tentzeris notes that each unit costs only a few cents, which means that money does not necessarily prevent this from becoming a legal method of power distribution.
A Georgia Tech professor says, “Scalability was very important, you’re talking about billions of devices. You may have a great prototype working in a lab, but when someone asks, ‘Can everyone use it?’ “You have to be able to say yes.”
Maybe one day in the future, 5G signals will give your phone the power it needs to run all day every day, in addition to the connection that these signals convey.