Your annoying mate could soon be able to nick your phone’s battery charge

Every group has that one friend who’s just a taker, mooching off everybody else (if you don’t know who this person is in your circle of friends, it’s you). Good news for that one person, though: Sony has patented a system that even lets them mooch battery power from their mates’ phones.

Filed in 2016, the patent is an evolution of existing wireless charging concepts, based on transmitting power through an (unspecified) antenna-based system. Prototypes like startup WattUp’s concept, which uses radio frequencies to beam power to devices show the basic idea of the system is sound, but Sony wants to take it one step further.

The company’s patent describes a voluntary system for identifying power hungry devices, and initiating bidirectional transfers of energy storage between them. That is, you would be able to see your and your friends’ phones, and click on any one to begin transferring power to them, just like the way you can currently scan for wifi hotspots right now.

Don’t expect the transfer to be the height of efficiency, though. If the patent ever does reach implementation, it’ll still have to contend with the laws of physics: converting power into radio waves and back again is an extremely lossy process however it happens. So if your friend ever does ask to “borrow” some power because they forgot to charge their phone again, maybe that’s the excuse you’ll have to turn to.

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