Who wants OLED and a face-recognition software when your phone can recharge power from its surroundings, letting you make calls without ever having any need to charge your phone.

This wild innovation is part of a Google Faculty Research Program and achieved three U.S. National Science Foundation awards for a total investment of around $2 million. For that money, the creator, Vamsi Talla, developed a single-board cell-phone that can make routine phone calls or connect you to emergency services. The team is commercializing the phone at Jeeva Wireless.

As per IEEE, this device can even make Skype calls:

The phone receives power from sunlight or RF waves sent from a nearby base station, a fixed point of communication for customer cellular phones on a carrier network. With a technique called backscattering, the phone can make a voice call by modifying and reflecting the same waves back to the base station.

We also were able to make Skype voice calls, proving that the prototype—made of commercial, off-the-shelf components—can communicate with a base station and applications like Skype. The phone consumes only 3 microwatts of power—which is about 10,000 times less than what a current smartphone consumes.

Because this technology doesn’t need much in the way of changing cell towers. Talla believes most cell phones could simply add this feature in the near future. This means you could make a call even on a dead phone. Talla also has plans to add an e-ink display which means you could easily perform very basic smartphone functions on your battery-less phone. The current model could cost as little as $1 to produce, which makes it great for developing countries.

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