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There is energy in the air all around us, traveling in the form of sound, Wi-Fi and other signals. Duke University researchers announced they successfully converted microwaves into electricity, which could be used to power electronic devices. Their system is about as efficient as a solar cell, and they hope it could someday be built into mobile phones.

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Story posted at: bbc.co.uk

  1. Electrical Engineer Monday, November 11, 2013

    A few years ago, Caltech issued a press-release that gave the impression that a person could download an entire DVD in a mere 5 seconds. The story went viral, appearing in newspapers all over the world. Of course, it is a crock. Some universities will do this occasionally to boost their standing in public perception. It’s without honor

    That article that was written at BBC doesn’t even make sense to another electrical engineer:

    “Using fibreglass and copper conductors on a circuit board, the researchers converted microwaves into 7.3 volts of electricity. A USB charger, which is often used to recharge mobile phone batteries and cameras, provides about five volts.”

    This is meaningless to an electrical engineer. It’s like saying….”Well, I think I am richer than you because I have 100,000 shares of Corporation A and you have only 5,000 shares of Corporation B.” To a person with degree in finance, not only does such a statement not make sense, but it is mildly offensive, and makes the person who is uttering it appear to be an idiot.

    Furthermore, the Duke guys say:

    “We had been getting energy efficiency around 6-10%, but with this design we were able to dramatically improve energy conversion to 37%, which is comparable to what is achieved in solar cells.”

    Whooptie Doo! You manage to achieve 37% efficiency in converting power that, over a period of an hour, just MIGHT be enough to shock an ant’s testicle.

    Seriously…Duke should not be proud. They should be embarrassed that two “researchers” have the nerve to publish this non-sense.

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