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Paul Drayson, former science minister of the United Kingdom, has unveiled a new technology which he claims will be a revolution for wearables and the Internet of things. Freevolt harvests energy from existing radio transmissions, which Drayson claims is currently being unused. Similar technologies have been developed in the past, but the power generated was too low to be commercially viable. Drayson Technologies may have finally made the technology efficient enough to be useful. The amount of energy being harvested is quite low, so only wearables and other low power devices can be run using free volt. For now at least PCs, TVs and consoles cannot be powered by Freevolt.

Freevolt was first demonstrated at the Royal Institution. Drayson first showed how much radio frequency energy was in the room. He then used Freevolt to power a loudspeaker with it. He also demonstrated the first commercial product to make use to the energy system, an air pollution monitor called the CleanSpace Tag. CleanSpace is a low-cost air quality monitor, which attempts to crowdsource the effort to track pollution in cities. The device runs on battery power which  is continually recharged by Freevolt.

Dean Bubley, a mobile technology analyst and founder of Disruptive Analysis, finds CleanSpace to be “fascinating” but also says, “It doesn’t need Freevolt. The same thing could be achieved with a battery and low-power transmitter.” He also raises concerns about the possible negative impact this technology may have on communications networks.

When Drayson was asked if it was possible that communications companies may charge a fee for the use of their networks by this technology, Drayson said there is no legal basis for that. He even thinks technology companies will be excited about the technology and see it as a “really cool thing.” He claims it provides a power source to low power devices without building additional infrastructure, which is something the tech industry should embrace.

Is Freevolt going to revolutionize the Internet of things? Leave your comments below.


Max Michael

Senior Writer

I’m a technology reporter located near the Innovation District of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario.