5G network charging breakthrough could make batteries obsolete

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have discovered a way to transform 5G networks into a wireless power grid for IoT devices, developing a Rotman lens-based rectifying antenna system to harvest the 28-GHz band.

Currently, large aperture antennas are required to supply low-power devices at long ranges, limiting operation if the antenna is widely dispersed from a 5G station.

The system could lead to the development of a passive, long-range, mm-wave 5G powered RFID for wearables and IoT applications, with the researchers creating inhouse additive manufacturing to print mm-wave harvesters the size of a human palm, capable of adhering to a number of flexible and rigid substrates. 

Jimmy Hester, senior lab advisor and CTO and co-founder of Atheraxon, Georgia Tech, commented:  “I've been working on energy harvesting conventionally for at least six years, and for most of this time it didn't seem like there was a key to make energy harvesting work in the real world, because of FCC limits on power emission and focalisation.

“With the advent of 5G networks, this could actually work and we’ve demonstrated it. That’s extremely exciting — we could get rid of batteries.”

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