Nikola Labs, based out of Columbus, Ohio, says it’s about to debut a new iPhone case that can convert radio frequencies into power to help keep your phone charged throughout the day.
The iPhone case, which will cost $US99, is expected to hit Kickstarter in June, and could start shipping as early as September.
You might be sceptical about this kind of technology, but you should know that the co-founder of Nikola Labs, Dr. Rob Lee, is a well-respected, highly credible engineer — he’s a former chair of the Ohio State University’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and this particular technology comes straight out of Ohio State’s engineering department. Dr. Lee and Nikola Labs got an exclusive licence from Ohio State University to turn this technology into a real money-making product, according to Engadget.
Nikola Labs debuted the new iPhone case at TechCrunch Disrupt: A demo version of the case was connected to a live voltmeter and was able to create power fluctuations when it was placed near a Linksys WiFi router.
There’s a catch, however: As magical as this sounds, the iPhone case won’t be able to charge your phone from zero to 100%. Unlike a Mophie case, there’s no internal battery and no way to store any of this energy while it’s not connected to your phone. And it won’t charge very quickly either — the antenna and power-converting circuit can only extend the battery life of an iPhone 6 by about 30%, and it all works extremely slowly. So, you’ll probably see your iPhone discharge at a slower pace throughout the day, rather than see it constantly hovering between 90% and 100%.
We’ve reached out to Nikola Labs, but the company says it will offer more details about the hardware when it debuts its Kickstarter campaign in June.