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$76,709 pledged of $135,000 goal
backers
By Nikola Labs Inc.
$76,709 pledged of $135,000 goal
backers

About

We have integrated our radio frequency harvesting technology into phone cases for the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6, allowing you to significantly extend your phone’s battery life by recycling wasted RF waves. 

University Technology Partnership

Nikola Labs partnered with The Ohio State University's Electro Science Laboratory to commercialize this groundbreaking RF energy harvesting technology.

In collaboration with Dr. Chi Chih Chen, a world renowned researcher in antenna design and RF energy harvesting and his co-inventors Emre Koksal, Ness Shroff and Roland Tallos, Nikola Technology was born.

Dr. Chi Chih Chen, Dr. Rob Lee and Roland Tallos showcase the Nikola phone case for a local news outlet.
Dr. Chi Chih Chen, Dr. Rob Lee and Roland Tallos showcase the Nikola phone case for a local news outlet.

This is possible because the case captures wasted RF energy from the phone and recycles it back into the phone resulting in extra battery life, without disrupting call quality or data communication.

Technology Overview

Figure 1 shows exemplary layout of the novel “smart” phone (or tablet) case that can convert unused WiFi and Cellular signals transmitting from the phone into DC power for charging back into the phone.
Figure 1 shows exemplary layout of the novel “smart” phone (or tablet) case that can convert unused WiFi and Cellular signals transmitting from the phone into DC power for charging back into the phone.

System Block Diagram

First, an antenna is used to receive RF signals in cellular and/or WiFi bands. The antenna is followed by the impedance matching circuit to ensure the maximum power transfer to the subsequent rectifying circuitry which converts RF power into DC power. Full-wave rectification is achieved via the use of low-barrier Schottky diodes. The rectifying circuitry is followed by a power management circuitry for ensuring that the harvested DC voltage is compatible with the charging requirements of the mobile device. The last portion of the circuitry is the wireless device interface. This portion includes the necessary connector type for a specific wireless device.

Figure 2 shows an exemplary system block diagram that can be adopted for implementing our invention.
Figure 2 shows an exemplary system block diagram that can be adopted for implementing our invention.

Prototype Design

A proof-of-concept prototype design was fabricated and tested to show the reduction of battery consumption rate with the energy harvester circuit attached to a mobile device.

Figure 3 - Smart Phone Energy Harvester (a) Top View (b) Bottom View (Antenna).
Figure 3 - Smart Phone Energy Harvester (a) Top View (b) Bottom View (Antenna).
Figure 4 - Energy Harvesting System Connected to a Smart Phone
Figure 4 - Energy Harvesting System Connected to a Smart Phone

Exemplary RF Harvester Design

Figure 5: Block diagram of the energy harvesting circuit prototype
Figure 5: Block diagram of the energy harvesting circuit prototype

Testing in the Lab

Co-inventor and engineer at Nikola Labs, Roland Tallos demonstrates the circuitry and the case producing 5 volts as a result of downloading a file via Google Drive.

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 The diagram below shows two exemplary test results which compare the iPhone 6 battery discharging rate during continuous data downloading using 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi with and without the RF energy harvester case. These results show a 30% reduction in discharging battery rate in the presence of RF energy harvester.

Figure 6: iPhone 6 downloading a file from Google Drive.
Figure 6: iPhone 6 downloading a file from Google Drive.

After proving the technology in the lab, we needed to bring the phone case to life.

Figure 7: Example of RF energy harvester embedded within the wall of the phone’s protective case.
Figure 7: Example of RF energy harvester embedded within the wall of the phone’s protective case.

Integrating the technology into the iPhone 6 case was no easy task. Through countless iterations in board design, we were able to maximize the performance of the circuitry in the lab.

This involved many iterations of rapid prototyping and user testing of both the phone case and antenna design. Once the case design was refined for optimal performance and manufacturability, we needed to get this technology in front of the public.

TechCrunch Disrupt

To showcase Nikola technology to the public, we went to TechCrunch Disrupt New York. The team generated so much buzz in Startup Alley that we landed a spot presenting in the Startup Battlefield as the 'Audience Choice' wildcard contestant.

Co-Founder of Nikola Labs, Will Zell pitches on stage in the Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt New York. (Photo Credit: TechCrunch)
Co-Founder of Nikola Labs, Will Zell pitches on stage in the Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt New York. (Photo Credit: TechCrunch)

Feedback at Disrupt New York was so overwhelmingly positive that we decided to immediately start development on a case for the Galaxy S6 to bring Nikola technology to Android users.

Co-Founder - Dr. Robert Lee, holds one of the first prototypes at TechCrunch Disrupt. (Photo Credit: Chris Velazco) - Engadget
Co-Founder - Dr. Robert Lee, holds one of the first prototypes at TechCrunch Disrupt. (Photo Credit: Chris Velazco) - Engadget

Our goal is fulfill our rewards within 6 months after the end of our campaign. With an estimated ship date of February 2016, we have made progress on our journey to get this technology in the hands of our backers. We still have quite a bit of work to do to make this a reality. This includes:

Additional User Testing and Prototyping: Our iPhone 6 user test results have exceeded our expectations. Over the next two months we will conduct additional user testing for the iPhone 6, Samsung S6 and additional phone models.

Design for Manufacture: To meet our delivery timeline we are quickly moving our PCB and case designs for the iPhone 6 and Samsung S6 to final design for manufacturing.

Manufacturing: We have intentionally built the majority of our supply chain local in Central Ohio. We are closely engaged with our supply partners and will have the early stages of the manufacturing process in motion before our Kickstarter campaign ends.

Fulfillment: Our mission is to deliver a superior product to our backers within six months after the Kickstarter campaign. Every waking moment for much of our team will be focused on this one goal!

Future Product Development: Our line of cases is just the beginning for Nikola Labs. Our team has outlined the next products we will launch and our R&D team is dedicated to this innovation.

Risks and challenges

We have already reached many milestones as a company, the most important being the validation of our technology, and great results from lab and user testing. Many hurdles remain in front of us with many risks. Here are our short term challenges and the steps we are taking to mitigate risks.

Challenge: Delivering a superior product with great form, fit and function.
Solution: We are partnering with companies in Central Ohio with extensive experience in design for manufacturing.

Challenge: Delivering product on a promised timeline.
Solution: We have built the vast majority of our supply chain local to Central Ohio. We are already meeting regularly with each supplier to ensure we are aligned on goals, timelines and quickly solving problems as they arise.

Challenge: Regulatory Compliance
Solution: Our technology requires a regimen of compliance tests which pose the risk of delaying our production timelines. We have partnered with an industry leading company that will manage our compliance requirements to enable distribution across the globe.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $18 or more About $18

    Nikola Labs T-Shirt
    Don't have a iPhone 6 or Samsung GS6 but love this project? Show your support for our campaign and help us 'Power What's Next' in a super soft Nikola Labs T-shirt!

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    Pledge $89 or more About $89

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL
    Be one of the first people ever to download power from the air with Nikola Technology!
    Color options: Black/Grey - Black/Gold - White/Grey - White/Gold - Red/Grey *Available for iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6

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    Reward no longer available 250 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    1 Nikola Labs iPhone Case
    Color options - Black/Grey | Black/Gold | White/Grey | White/Gold | Red/Grey
    *Available for iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6

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    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    O-H-I-O SPECIAL
    1 Nikola Labs iPhone Case in Red/Grey
    *Available for iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6

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    60 backers
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    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    2 Pack of Nikola iPhone Cases
    Color options: Black/Grey - Black/Gold - White/Grey - White/Gold - Red/Grey *Available for iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    4 Pack of Nikola iPhone Cases
    Color options: Black/Grey - Black/Gold - White/Grey - White/Gold - Red/Grey *Available for iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6

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    Pledge $800 or more About $800

    10 Pack of Nikola iPhone Cases
    Color options: Black/Grey - Black/Gold - White/Grey - White/Gold - Red/Grey *Available for iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6

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    Pledge $4,000 or more About $4,000

    Distributor Pack of 50 Nikola iPhone Cases
    10 cases in each color option: Black/Grey - Black/Gold - White/Grey - White/Gold - Red/Grey *Available for iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6

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Funding period

- (42 days)