British company raises US$11m for tech to charge devices using wasted cellular waves
But Drayson Technologies wants to license its technology to other companies instead of becoming a manufacturer
A company that can produce technology to harness waves from networks such as WiFi or 4G to charge devices, has raised £8 million (US$11.5 million) to accelerate the product's development.
Drayson Technologies makes Freevolt, a patent-pending technology, which can recycle wasted radio frequency waves and convert them to power low energy electrical devices such as sensors, beacons and wearables.
The U.K.-based firm is looking to take advantage of the growing number of internet of things (IoT) devices – products that are connected to the internet. These could include wearable devices and home appliances, but also increasingly the sensors that will be used in "smart cities" to give authorities updates on traffic to pollution.
These sorts of devices do not require the kind of power that smartphones or computers do, but instead can run on very low energy. Having a technology like Freevolt means that the thousands of beacons and sensors which could potentially be dotted around a city, won't need to be charged in the traditional way of plugging in a wire, something that would prove costly and impractical.
"People are talking more about how IoT is being created and behind all of this is the question of how are you going to provide a power supply," Paul Drayson, chief executive of Drayson Technologies, says.
"People are increasingly recognising that our tech, that allows us to harness wasted RF frequencies and uses that to power the devices, allows us to provide an efficient solution."
The first commercial application of the Freevolt technology is the CleanSpace tag, an air quality and pollution sensor. Freevolt is built into the device and it never needs to be plugged in to charge.
But Drayson Technologies is not looking to become a device manufacturer and instead is looking to license its technology to companies making IoT products.
"But fundamentally it's about establishing an industry standard for the use of low frequency energy and to get Freevolt as a recognized industry standard for that," Drayson, a former British government science minister, says.
He added the company is in "multiple conversations" with "leading players" in the manufacturing space, but could not disclose the names because the talks are not public yet.