Technology firm Nikola Labs has started a Kickstarter campaign to fund its Nikola Phone Case, which has the capability to extend the battery life of one's Apple iPhone 6 or Samsung Galaxy S6 by harvesting wasted radio frequency (RF) energy.
This Kickstarter project still has 40 days to collect $135,000 for the product, and nearly $44,000 has been pledged as of this writing.
The Nikola Phone Case is made up of three key parts: a built-in antenna, a harvesting circuit and an integrated lightning port to feed the power back into the iPhone. This sleek protective case slows down the rate of how the iPhone's battery discharges without leaving any impact on the call quality or data transmission and may allow the battery life to be extended by up to 50 percent longer.
Unlike typical powered cases, it does not have any supplemental battery, making the Nikola Phone Case significantly slimmer. It provides easy access to the charging port and headphone jack, while providing a layer of protection made up of its high-strength, lightweight polycarbonate material.
The product's starting pledge price is at $89. It will be available in February 2016 in a variety of colors, such as white gold, white gray, black gold, black gray and red gray.
A pledge of $99 or more will have the product shipping as early as January 2016.
Will Zell, CEO of Nikola Labs, introduced a fully functional prototype of the Nikola Phone Case for the iPhone 6 last month at TechCrunch Disrupt New York.
Nikola Technology appears to harvest energy from thin air, but it actually gathers wasted radio frequency energy coming from the iPhone itself, as the company claims more than 90 percent of the energy used to maintain voice and data connection is unused and dispersed in thin air.
This RF energy, which includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and LTE signal, is then collected by the RF harvesting antenna, and that energy is then converted into electricity to extend the battery life of the phone. During the demonstration of the Nikola Phone Case, it amazingly harvested energy from a Wi-Fi router after being placed next to it. This patent-pending technology is created by Dr. Chi-Chih Chen's research team at the Ohio State University ElectroScience Laboratory.
Nikola Labs, a company based in Columbus, Ohio, derived its name from the late inventor Nikola Tesla who pioneered the technology of transmitting electricity through wires. In partnership with Ohio State University, the company specializes in RF energy harvesting and wireless power solutions for mobile devices.