Airnergy is not just a clever play-on name for a gadget of this ilk. It actually makes a whole lot of sense, considering RCA have somehow managed to hybridise the common battery charger with a WiFi computer sensor. The end result will charge batteries wherever there is a WiFi signal to capture and that's got our attention.
As one of the more interesting products to watch in the new decade, and debuting at this years CES Tech expo (see more of our exclusive coverage here on other products at the show), Airnergy works by harnessing the magnitude of wireless signals flowing through our everyday environments and turning those copious WiFi signals into suprisingly useful electrical currents.
The portable device stands no larger than your averge smartphone and utilises signals in the 2.4Ghz range.
According to statements made by an Airnergy spokesperson with Oh Gizmo! at the 2010 CES (see video below), the speed of the charge depends on the location strenght of the WiFi signal and how close the charger is to the source of that signal.
|The Wireless battery that charges from 'thin air.' Image source: Oh Gizmo!
Charging times for a BlackBerry Bold were quoted at 90mins (from 30% capacity), which if true, would be comparable to a regular charger - using a somewhat 'free' energy instead.
RCA contends that WiFi signals will provide enough energy to charge a mobile phone battery on the fly or as a backup battery. And this can all happen without ever needing to wrestle over cables to pump juice into our phones. The device is likely to be cost $US30-$40, when it hits stores in the US this June.
In highly urbanised cities, hundreds of WiFi signals can be found in any one given spot - allowing the futuristic Airnergy to conjure up its wireless power charging magic without too much hassle.
However, in areas where WiFi is less than stable or in limited use, the concept lacks broader appeal. Other inventions that call upon wireless electrical signals through the atmosphere may still hold more promise. RCA may have already been outshone by Intel who got a head start on wireless technology at last year's CES.
Intel's nifty invention actually demonstrates electricity without wires - a concept first demonstrated by the great Nikola Tesla in the early 20th century.
Wireless electricity is already closer than many of us think too; manufacturers have already agreed on a global wireless power standard called Qi, which already sounds like a comic book superpower and is an actual Asian translation for 'a vital or power'.