Microsoft wants to AutoCharge your phones with solar energy

Microsoft is going eco, as other major companies are working on hybrid cars and planes. Don’t misunderstand, as Microsoft is planning to develop a smartphone charging system that uses solar energy to beam power to your rectangular-shaped best friend. Qi Wireless charging is neat and all, but the Redmond company wants to take the term “wireless” to the next level.

With the new technology being developed by Microsoft Research, we might do away with cables once and for all while using renewable energy to provide our smartphones and tablets with the necessary juice. The team is calling the new technology the AutoCharge, which can automatically locate a smartphone on a cluttered desk. After it locates the device, AutoCharge will use a light beam to transfer solar energy to the battery of the device.

Microsoft AutoCharge detects smartphones from above

Here’s the explanation provided by researchers Yunxin Liu, Zhen Qin and Chunshui Zhao from the Microsoft Research team: “This is achieved by two techniques. First, we leverage solar charging technique but use it in indoor spaces, to remotely charge a smartphone using a light beam without a wire. Second, we employ an image-processing-based technique to detect and track smartphones on a desk for automatic smartphone charging. As a result, AutoCharge is able to largely reduce users’ efforts in smartphone charging and significantly improve the user experience. We have designed and implemented a prototype system of the AutoCharge approach.”

The team made it clear in the research documentation that the Microsoft AutoCharge is still just a prototype and they are far from having a real product. Nonetheless, their experiments demonstrated that the methods they use actually work and might make smartphone charging a much easier and greener affair for all users. The team didn’t say when a product would be available and ready for mass-production, but judging by all the data they have supplied in their report, we are not far from the invention getting into public hands. We would estimate that Microsoft would market AutoCharge in the next one or two years. You can read the full report published by the team on their official site and find out for yourself; (you might even try it at home).