Wireless charging for electrical products could soon become a reality thanks to a new prototype Wi-Fi router, recently unveiled by researchers at the University of Warwick.
The new device will be capable of wirelessly charging electronic gadgets from nearly 30 feet away, while also offering normal internet connectivity.
It is the result of work from a team at the University of Washington, which found that by using a "rectifier", it was possible to convert Wi-Fi data signals into a direct current.
That current is then modified into the correct voltage by way of a DC-DC convertor.
The system has already been tested in six homes and experts claim it is proving its worth, with initial concerns over interference with internet connectivity eased by way of modifications to the router, which allow it to power devices when the queue for connection requests is below a certain level.
A random signal would also be constantly transmitted, even when the internet was not being used, ensuring the Wi-Fi router could continuously provide power.
In a paper published on arxiv.org, the Washington team explained: "This minimises the impact on the associated Wi-Fi clients while effectively providing continuous power delivery to harvesters."
A number of devices have already been tested alongside the new technology, including a battery-free temperature and low-resolution camera sensor, as well as ordinary rechargeable batteries.
Although all of these are low-powered devices, the researchers are hoping they could all be used within a wireless charging network. Larger devices will need a higher wattage than what can be supplied by a regular router.
The development is set to reinvigorate discussions surrounding the ongoing internet of things (IoT) trend, which is seen by many analysts as being the next major development in shaping the household of the future, linking refrigerators, bins and even toasters through a computerised network.
Many believe that smart homes will soon be filled with sensors for monitoring humidity, temperature or energy consumption, improving efficiency.