Lunecase harvests electromagnetic energy from iPhone to power LED alerts
By David Szondy
May 2, 2014
Smartphone cases are so common that you can pick one up at the supermarket checkout stand, so for one to stand out, it needs something more than a print of a cartoon kitten. Built by Concepter, a company based in Kiev, Ukraine, the Lunecase is s a batteryless, wireless phone case that not only interacts with an iPhone, but also powers itself from the electromagnetic radiation emitted by the device.
Billed as the first intelligent iPhone case, the first prototype of the Lunecase was developed by Concepter in 2013 and made its debut at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The thin, durable case snaps onto the iPhone 5/5s/5c and the company says it’s ready to work immediately. Lunecase wirelessly links to the phone, allowing it to detect incoming text messages and phone calls, and flashes a notification on the back of the phone using LEDs to tell you that a message has come in and what type it is.
Where Lunecase differs from the herd of smartphone accessories is that its function is not only wireless, but so is its power source – as in it doesn’t need batteries. Instead, it’s powered by the electromagnetic field of the phone.
It’s not a unique technology. Induction is a phenomenon that’s been exploited by engineers for over a century and in recent years has been applied to personal digital devices to either charge batteries or directly power devices.
What’s unusual with Lunecase is that it’s used as a smartphone accessory that has to deal with sips of electricity. According to the makers, modern smartphones are very efficient and don’t emit as much radiation as old ones, so the trick was getting the Lunecase to work with much fewer leaked volts.
Lunecase is the focus of a Kickstarter campaign running through June 5 to raise money for the production phase. The campaign has already passed its target, with the Lunecase available from pledges of US$30 if all goes to plan.