There has been plenty of talk about new and amazing battery technologies that will allow our smartphones to run for up to a week without needing a charge, but it could still be many years before they make their way into consumer products. Based on a recently published patent, Sony thinks a better solution would be for users to share power wirelessly from nearby devices.
A filing made by the Japanese company last year suggests that rather than relying on more efficient batteries or power packs, your future emergency power needs could be solved by generous friends. Building on wireless charging concepts like Qi, the documents describe being able to transfer power between devices using an antenna-based system.
Most of the patent focuses on how the system could seek out near compatible devices, much like scanning for a nearby Wi-Fi spot, and start transferring energy to or from them. The idea being that you can scan and find a friend’s phone, link with it, then start mooching their power (or sending some to them). It could also be used to draw power from wireless charging base stations.
Sony wants the system to be used in a number of battery-powered devices, not just smartphones. Think laptops, smartwatches, and wearables.
The precise technical details of how the system would work aren’t included in the patent. As noted by The Guardian, converting power into radio waves and back again is an extremely lossy process however it happens.
Like all patents, Sony’s system may never make into the real world. But being able to draw power from a multitude of different devices does sound kind of cool.