Engineers at Duke University have designed a breakthrough gadget that harvests background microwave radiation and converts it into electricity, with the same efficiency as solar panels. The development, unveiled on Thursday, raises exciting possibilities such as recharging a phone wirelessly and providing power to remote locations that can't access conventional electricity. And the researchers say that their inexpensive invention is remarkably versatile. It could be used to capture lost energy from a range of sources such as satellite transmissions, sound signals or Wi-Fi. The device that is capable of harvesting microwave signals from the air consists of five fiberglass and copper conductors wired together on a circuit board The Duke engineers used metamaterials, which their press release describes as engineered structures that can capture various forms of wave energy and tune them for useful applications. They say the device harvested microwaves with an efficiency of 36.8 percent, similar to modern solar cells that capture light energy. A report that will appear in the journal Applied Physics Letters in December states that this invention is capable of converting microwave signals to enough direct current voltage to recharge a cell phone battery. See More at Mail Online.
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