The iWatch is still no more than a very large rumor, but battery issues are already being considered. A recent report from the New York Times indicates that research and development in mobile technology is finally beginning to address the concerns.
With wearable technology growing and consumer demand for more power, researchers in different institutions across the US are toying with new ideas for battery life with everything from solar energy to Wi-Fi sourced power and even power generated from your movements.
Solar powered batteries have long been experimented with but have not yet proven up to the challenge, as Nest Labs CEO Tony Fadell, who was once involved in the development of the iPod puts it, our devices spend a lot of time in our pockets and so are not subjected to the right amount of natural light.
This hasn’t deterred Apple from expanding on solar powered batteries and last year posted a job advertisement for engineers with experience in “solar industries” to work on thin-film technologies.
Apple isn’t putting all their faith in solar though and is currently experimenting with batteries charged by movement. The company acquired the patent for “Harnessing power through electromagnetic induction utilizing printed coils”, where the movement of magnets within the device will create the necessary voltage to charge the battery.
However, it isn’t just the tech’s giants that are looking for the next stage in battery technology. Ideas such as Wi-Fi are being examined by the University of Washington in Seattle, who are currently looking at methods of harvesting Wi-Fi signals for calls or texting. While the traditional battery will still power the screen, apps and everything else, no power is lost by simply making a call or sending a text. The researchers hope that the method could also harvest TV and cellular signals.
The new methods currently being experimented with all suggest that smartphones and wearable devices in the coming years will be using newer, longer-lasting batteries. As the University of Washington’s research shows, it may be possible to divide the powered functions of a phone between the old and new, where methods like Wi-Fi or piezoelectricity power your calls and texts while the traditional battery handles everything else.