Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amhurst) have created a new type of radio technology that could potentially extend the battery life of mobile devices by allowing them to automatically share battery power with other devices.
The idea works using a modified version of Bluetooth which allows devices to operate as if the unit with the larger-power capacity was a radio-frequency identification device (RFID) reader and the lower powered device was a RFID tag.
The new concept, which is said to be very power efficient, is dubbed “Braidio” allows energy sharing and behaves like a standard Bluetooth radio.
“We take for granted the ability to offload storage and computation from our relatively limited personal computers to the resource-rich cloud,” said professor Deepak Ganesan of UMass Amherst.
“In the same vein, it makes sense that devices should also be able to offload how much power they consume for communication to devices that have more energy.”
The idea has only been tested for communication and transmitting of data but the researcher claim that potentially it could result in battery life lasting 400 times longer.
Professor Ganesan believes that Braidio technology may influence new approaches in the design of mobile devices and wearables.
“Wearable devices are often bulky due to large batteries needed for adequate battery life,” said professor Ganesan. “Perhaps such energy offload techniques can reverse this trend and enable thinner and lighter devices.”
Still in the prototype stage, the UMass Amhurst researchers believe that further optimization will make Braidio smaller and more efficient so that it would be much more suitable to mass-market needs and commercial production.