5G networks transmit energy, very little, harmless, but enough to be collected in cards and power portable devices with it.
This has been demonstrated by a team at Georgia Tech, a team that just announced a 3D printed rectifier antenna, the size of a deck card, that can collect electromagnetic energy from 5G signals and use it to power devices, turning 5G networks into wireless power grids.
Taking energy “off the air” has been the goal of many projects in recent years, although short-range Wi-Fi signals, television transmissions, and radio signals have generally been used as the source, but at the moment there are no commercial solutions that are viable in this regard, although it is believed that a device could increase a smartphone’s battery life by 30 percent just by collecting some of the radio waves that the phone generates.
The fact is that 5G has been designed for ultra-fast and low latency communications using millimeter wave frequencies, with high radiated power densities. That makes it a superior energy source to the rest. Until now, large rectifier antennas were necessary, but with 5G the size can be reduced.
For the project they used a Rotman lens, a pointed-looking plate in the middle of the card. Rotman lenses convert a single, large, high-gain, narrow-angle antenna beam into a series of simultaneous antenna beams that cover a much wider angle. Thanks to this, they have created an antenna that receives energy from any direction and is capable of generating 21 times more energy than in previous projects.
At the moment it should be possible to get around 6 microwatts within 180 meters of a 5G transmitter, enough to power small sensors and Internet of Things devices. As there are more 5G transmitters, the possibilities will expand.
Over time they think that they can replace millions, or tens of millions, of wireless sensor batteries, especially for smart city and smart agriculture applications.
The study is openly available en Scientific Reports.