Nikola Labs RF Energy Harvesting Smartphone Case Launches On Kickstarter

Posted: Jun 11 2015, 1:41am CDT | by , in News | Technology News


Nikola Labs RF Energy Harvesting Smartphone Case Launches on Kickstarter

The Nikola Case is charging the iPhone and Galaxy S6. Kickstarter Video below.

Nikola Labs is launched a Kickstarter campaign for it’s RF energy harvesting smartphone case today June 10 at 1pm ET. The Nikola Labs cases extend a smartphone battery life by harvesting wasted radio frequency (RF) energy.

Nikola Labs announced an iPhone 6 case earlier this year. "Due to the overwhelming response at TechCrunch Disrupt we are excited to announce that we will also be bringing this breakthrough technology to Android users by launching a case for the Galaxy S6 also," said Nikola Labs CEO Will Zell.

While Nikola Labs is currently focused on harvesting wasted energy emitted from mobile devices, Zell has even bigger plans for the future. "We're excited about getting this technology into consumer's hands, but we are also focusing on what's next. Our goal is beyond just this phone case. We're working to enable an entire platform for powering future devices".

As reported earlier, Nikola Labs is one of the startups that is working on RF energy harvesting for smartphones and wearables.

Mobile devices like tablets and phones use Radio Frequency (RF) waves like WiFi, Bluetooth and LTE  to transmit data through the air. These RF waves are a form of energy and can be harnessed to create electricity. The process of converting RF into direct current (DC) power was first pioneered by Nikola Tesla over a century ago. The so called rectenna was conceived by William C. Brown back in 1964. Rectennas are also widely used today. RFID tags contain a small rectenna to supply the electronics with power when close to a scanner. 

New advancements in technology allow Nikola Labs and also K3OPS to generate enough power to extend the battery life of smartphones.

When transmitting, only a small fraction of the phone's signal actually reaches the receiver, while the majority of the signal is wasted to the air. To capture that wasted power, Nikola Labs is utilizing patent-pending technology created by Dr. Chi-Chih Chen’s research team at The Ohio State University ElectroScience Laboratory. The team saw an opportunity to convert this wasted RF energy into DC power and use it to extend the battery life of the phone. The cases have three key components:

  • Built-in ‘low-profile’ antennas
  • A high efficiency RF harvesting circuit 
  • An integrated lightning port to feed power back into the phone

Nikola phone case Features

  • The Nikola phone case increases battery life by slowing the rate at which the phone’s internal battery discharges and does this:
  • Without impacting data transmission rates or call quality
  • With no supplemental batteries, allowing the case to be significantly slimmer than typical powered cases
  • While providing a layer of protection through its lightweight, high-strength polycarbonate material offered in a variety of colors
  • With  easy access to the headphone jack and charging port

Nikola Labs plans to release a full system of products including routers that are fully optimized to provide RF-to-DC charging solutions. Future technologies from Nikola Labs will be able to charge the battery instead of just slowing down the discharge.

The Kickstarter campaign is live here and backers can receive their own iPhone 6 or Samsung Galaxy S6 case with Nikola Labs technology for $99. They will be the first to receive it with an estimated ship date of February 2016.

Nikola Labs has created a “Beta Team” level for early-adopters who want to not only try but also aide in the development of future product lines. Beta Team members will be asked to give their feedback on products that are still in development and help visualize future uses for the technology.  

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/2" rel="author">Luigi Lugmayr</a>
Luigi Lugmayr () is the founding chief Editor of I4U News and brings over 15 years experience in the technology field to the ever evolving and exciting world of gadgets. He started I4U News back in 2000 and evolved it into vibrant technology magazine.
Luigi can be contacted directly at




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