Sony wants to turn your phone into a power vampire


Outlandish patent applications are a dime a dozen these days, yet a few of them warrant mentioning due to just how scarily close to reality they can be. One such case is one of Sony's latest granted patents, which proposes the idea of devices wirelessly leeching power from others in their vicinity, which gives off some serious Dracula vibes. This is a terrible idea by all accounts, but what scares us the most is that Sony might just do it.

So let's begin: patent application US 20170064283 describes "a method for configuring wireless power and data transfer between consumer electronic (CE) devices," or in other words, a combination of wireless charging and near-field communication. The problems with this are many: firstly, as anyone who's ever used wireless charging can tell you, the technology is finicky and relies on the phone being placed on a very specific position on top of the charger. And this is because, at least for now, charging works in an extremely short range, actually making it more restrictive than the classic wired solution. Now imagine having to position two phones perfectly on top of each other, while also completely giving up on using either one of them.

And this is just the beginning, as we haven't even touched the problem of power efficiency, which is miserable in most implementations. In other words, you'll drain much more battery power than you'll receive, resulting in a considerable net minus. And as for those batteries: the most commonly used type, Li-ion, isn't going anywhere any time soon, despite suffering from major power capacity reduction in a short span of time. So imagine how much worse your already failing year-old battery will get if another device starts regularly leeching off of it.

Granted, this is a very short-sighted view of the patent, which, for some reason, covers data transfer as well as wireless charging, making the idea a weird alternative to the old idea of wireless peer-to-peer networks. Also notable is the fact that the application specifically addresses the latter of the above problems with a paragraph devoted to preventing devices running on battery power from supplying it to others.

In any case, the technology for this patent simply isn't here yet, even if recent rumors have suggested it may be coming in the near future (but from Apple, rather than Sony). Still, the biggest hurdle for implementing at least some variation of this is shrinking down the power supply mechanism and figuring out how to cram it into a phone. And if Sony manages to do that, it might just put it in its next flagship, despite the general uselessness of it, à la Samsung and its heartbeat sensors.

source: USPTO via WhatAFuture

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18 Comments

1. dazzmichael

Posts: 71; Member since: Sep 15, 2014

Sony should fix its camera app and headphone port problems first before going all vampire.

2. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

You're right too bruh. Heck, this article said: "In any case, the technology for this patent simply isn't here yet, even if recent rumors have suggested it may be coming in the near future (but from Apple, rather than Sony)" Not sure about that.

3. Odeira

Posts: 300; Member since: Jun 29, 2012

NEVER had a problem with the headphone port with my Z2 and Z5 Premium after successive updates. What are you talking about? But yeah, manual controls would be great. Though on a marketing standpoint, understandable. I mean, why would you buy an Alpha MILC camera when your XZ Premium has manual controls and shoots significantly better photos than the pricier camera with more overhead and price gouging?

11. TerryTerius unregistered

I know nothing about what this person is claiming, but anecdotal evidence doesn't prove anything one way or another. It's like claiming that because I have personally never seen a grizzly bear in the wild, they must not exist. But yeah, I do hope they include manual controls. Especially since I'm looking at Sony as a brand to pick up this year, potentially.

14. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Get camera FV-5 i been using it on my old Z1 for years and its still can take amazing picture almost as good as this year and 2016 flagship. Its give you all those manual control you crave for.

9. danny_a2005

Posts: 358; Member since: Oct 06, 2011

that was funny

17. mixedfish

Posts: 1551; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

WTF headphone port problems? Did you wake up in 2013 where Sony had waterproof flap for the Z port?

4. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Just sitting in a room full of people with phones and turn on vamp mode to leach all the energy you need to charge your battery. That is what I imagined lol, s**t would funny as hell it happened really quick and phones just started dying out of no where, would be like having a super power, turn my Sony phone into Cole from infamous ha.

6. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Does the other phone turns vamp too? Because if you have been bitten by a vamp, you'll be turning one yourself.

16. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

A virtual vampire virus hmmmm, I like it lol.

18. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Your phone will sparkle under the sun.

5. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Retarded patent. If this works for real, there should be an on and off toggle or, accept/decline option for phones with this capability. So the other devices can deny the one trying to leech power

7. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

So where's retard in that?

13. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

The fact that you think this is not bad.

15. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

If they impliment this like you said with a on/off switch and others need to accept then its a great idea.

8. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

this is gimmicky stupid. why would you want to drain..

10. Cat97

Posts: 1863; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

"But from Apple, rather than Sony" :)) Hilarious and sad to read this from the author.

12. avalon2105

Posts: 352; Member since: Jul 12, 2014

It clearly states that it wouldn't leech from devices running on battery. It is probably some idea of wireless charging with some PLUGGED source that phones could leech off. I imagine it implemented in tables in coffee shops and similar places. Placed on the center of the table or under it, and all phones placed on the table could charge off of it.

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