The Next Trick? A Smartphone Case That Can Draw Energy From The Air

Mobile phones charged with energy taken out of thin air. What sounds like a modern take on a very old magic trick is actually the Unique Selling Proposition of a smartphone case developed by Nikola Labs and presented for the first time on Monday at the TechCrunch Disrupt event taking place this week in New York City (the Ohio-based company was selected to pitch to the crowd "after being selected by the TechCrunch editorial team and the audience"). 

According to its developers, the Nikola Labs case is able to use its proprietary energy harvesting circuit to capture the 90 percent of waste energy that a 
smartphone pumps out in the form of radio frequencies (RF) — Wi-FiBluetoothLTE, etc. — and convert that energy into DC power, which can then be funneled back to the encased phone. 

Though quite sparse — a single static page at this point — the Nikola Labs' website does mention other features their case offers, including an extra layer of protection, an RF-harvesting antenna, a signal-strength indicator and an RF-DC converter.

Putting somewhat specific numbers to it, the company says that their case can power an iPhone 6 up to 30% longer. And not unexpectedly, as it is so often the case, the iPhone will get the first bite at the apple with the iPhone 6 version of Nikola Labs' smartphone savior set to launch next month on Kickstarter at $99. Then, in partnership with Ohio State University, the company hopes to bring their case to market within a year.

A 30% bump in smartphone power from a mobile phone case, one that harvests energy from the air? Science? Science Fiction? There is no denying that the idea is compelling, and if its execution manages to live up to its promise the Nikola Labs case is sure to achieve the status of "must-have" and will thus forge a clear path into many delighted pockets.