Scientists can use ‘energy that already surrounds us’ to charge technology

Scientists have discovered a way to power wearable devices using radio waves sent from microwaves, Wi-Fi connections, and other machines.

The researchers, led by Huanyu “Larry” Cheng, a professor in the Penn State Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, developed a stretchable wideband antenna system made up of two metal antennas integrated onto conductive graphene with a metal coating.

This wideband design – which refers to signals that use a wide range of frequencies – means that the system can still operate when the material is manipulated, such as being stretched or twisted.

The system can then connect to a stretchable rectifying circuit, creating a rectified antenna, or “rectenna,” which can convert electromagnetic waves into electricity, which can be used to power batteries or super capacitors.

This is not the first time that such technology has been proposed; the idea was first envisioned by Nikola Tesla in the 1960s and are also used currently to power RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology such as contactless payment or logistic tracking.

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