Sony’s latest patent could let you wirelessly share phone charge

Our always-switched-on lifestyle and being constantly on the move means our devices are forever running out of juice and need regular charging – and that usually means settling down in one place for a while so you can plug into a socket.

But Sony is trying to find a way to keep us all wirelessly charged up – by sucking power from devices around us, including our friends’ phones, without us having to get entangled in cables.

What A Future discovered a patent filed by the Japanese company, published earlier this month, that describes a leapfrogging technique for wireless transfer of power and data between devices, including smartphones, TVs, refrigerators, computers or any other IoT gadget.

A wireless future

The concept behind this wireless charging is an antenna system, like near-field communication (NFC) chips, which would be able to search for and connect to devices with similar tech located within a certain distance, similar to searching for a Wi-Fi hotspot.

The patent doesn’t specifically associate this technology with smartphones, but says it can be applied to a variety of gadgets, while Sony mentions that power can only be borrowed from compatible devices with the same tech.

It’s important to note that this is just a patented idea. It’s unclear how quickly wireless charging will become commonplace or whether this will eventuate into a product, but Sony might just be preparing for the future.

This kind of wireless charging could be a very useful feature to have while on the go, with shopping centres and restaurants providing power banks for customers, or stealing juice from your own household connected devices.

Asking a friend to share their phone’s power and data with you might test your friendship like nothing else ever has. But at least then you'll know who your true friends really are.

Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing camera kits or the latest in e-paper tablets, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She's also the Australian Managing Editor of Digital Camera World and, if that wasn't enough, she contributes to T3 and Tom's Guide, while also working on two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under.