Nikola Labs’ iPhone Case Charges Your Phone With Radio Waves

Nikola Labs hopes to harness the power of wasted RF cell phone signals to give your phone's battery a boost.

Nikola Labs, a new startup that debuted at Tech Crunch Disrupt New York this week, hopes to take the world a step closer to never needing to charge your phone.

The company’s case harnesses the energy in the air all around us — radio waves. As it turns out, our phones waste a lot of their energy staying connected to cell phone towers. Nikola Lab’s case aims to collect this energy with a 90% efficiency and pump it back in to your phone. This would net you an extra 30% battery power, according to Nikola Labs, just from power your phone is already wasting. The case has no hidden power storage, in the form of batteries or capacitors, making it thinner than your typical extended-battery case. This means that you get a free 30% extension of your battery; you don’t have to charge it up. Just put it on the phone and you will instantly see the benefits.

Nikola Labs isn’t playing around either; the startup was co-founded by Dr. Rob Lee, former chairman of Ohio State University’s Electrical and Computer Engineering department. They are working with Ohio state in building and licensing the technology.

We should see the product launch on Kickstarter next month, and it will go up for sale for $99 roughly four months after the Kickstarter. It may sound like a science fiction story– harvesting energy out of thin air– but I am optimistic that with the smart brains behind the project, we will soon not have to worry quite so much about finding an outlet. Perhaps someday they will make it efficient enough that we can forgo chargers completely. That’s probably a ways off though.

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Daniel Heppner
Daniel Heppner
My big interests are photography, IT, and electronics. I like to get out the soldering iron and build things for my house that light up. I've traveled around the world taking pictures and consider the viewfinder an extension of my eyeball. I build computers for myself and friends for fun, and have experience with software programming. I have experience programming underwater robots for robotics competitions, as well as wiring up the circuitry for them.