Using inexpensive materials configured and tuned to capture microwave signals, researchers at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering have designed a power-harvesting device with efficiency similar to that of modern solar panels.
The device wirelessly converts the microwave signal to direct current voltage capable of recharging a cell phone battery or other small electronic device, according to a report appearing in the journal Applied Physics Letters in December 2013. (It is now available online.)
It operates on a similar principle to solar panels, which convert light energy into electrical current. But this versatile energy harvester could be tuned to harvest the signal from other energy sources, including satellite signals, sound signals or Wi-Fi signals, the researchers say.