An iPhone that charges when you walk, via electromagnetic induction? Apple is looking into it

Finding enough power to run all the stuff in your mobile gadget, is probably the biggest problem facing device developers today. While the chip power is increasing according to Moore’s law, the battery technology to run them is improving at a glacial pace. So getting your iPhone or Droid to last just a single day on a moderate use is considered a big achievement.

Well, Apple may have an idea how to to improve your iPhone endurance even without bigger battery. What if your iDevice was able to transform a kinetic energy into electricity? That way, your iPhone will be auto-charging when you run, walk around, or move it in some other way.

You probably heard about the process of electromagnetic induction in high-school. That’s when you move a magnet next to a wire coil to generate electricity. But those are huge, where would you put such a contraption inside the iPhone?

Apple’s idea is to print the coils from conductive copper traces into the the circuit boards that hold all other chips inside your gadget. According to Apple, multiple layers of coils can be printed into the circuit boards, in dense configurations. Then you add movable magnets next to those boards and – voila. An iPhone that charges when you walk.

Of course, it is more much more complicated than that, and will need some clever engineering to work. And there’s question of how much power could be generated by just carrying iPhone around.

Still, every little bit helps, and if Apple can give me an extra browsing hour via this neat trick, I’ll take it.

Author: Stasys Bielinis

While I like to play with the latest gadgets, I am even more interested in broad technology trends. With mobile now taking over the world - following the latest technology news, looking for insights, sharing and discussing them with passionate audience - it's hard to imagine a better place for me to be. You can find me on Twitter as @UVStaska'

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  • Stoli89

    OMG…Apple just patented…induction? Really. Oh…and by the way…Nokia’s been researching in this area for a long time. I would expect something a bit more “novel” from that shop. Care to report on that? I suppose not. Better stick to where your “journalistic” bread is buttered.

  • Casey Govero

    No, they patented compact kinetic induction by designing a coil array that’s flat and small enough to fit in a mobile device. You know, kind of like car manufacturers patent new engine technology every day. They didn’t invent the engine, but they certainly designed it in a new way to make it better.