The answer to recharging your phone battery may be in the air, and in a new phone case.

US-based start-up Nikola Labs may have found a better way to keep our smart phones charged using a phone case that converts the energy of radio frequencies (RF) into direct current (DC) electricity.

The pioneering concept not only harvests energy and converts it into reusable power for the phone; it may also extend the life of the battery by up to 30 per cent.

The patent-pending technology creates electricity by converting some of the RF signal produced when wireless phone and internet communications transmit data through the air. Only a small fraction of a phone or internet signal actually reaches the receiver, while the majority of the signal is wasted.

Nikola Labs’ technology captures that wasted signal and converts it into DC power using a proprietary energy-harvesting circuit, created by Dr Chi Chih Chen’s research team at The Ohio State University’s ElectroScience Laboratory.

The team claims its technology has no impact on data transmission rates or call quality.

Nikola Labs’ award-winning concept featured in a campaign on Kickstarter earlier this year. Although it fell short of its funding goal, the concept netted 752 backers and the early-bird special iPhone case completely sold out.

The team hopes to deliver a superior product to its backers within six months of the Kickstarter campaign, after partnering with local companies experienced in design for manufacturing.

And who knows where this kind of innovation could lead?

As Nikola Tesla, the energy pioneer for whom the company named itself, wrote:  “The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up. His work is like that of the planter—for the future. His duty is to lay the foundation for those who are to come, and point the way.

Read more at Design Taxi (external link).