Carleton engineering student creates innovative invention to prolong battery life

This story was published in several major Canadian papers today. Atif Shamim, a Carleton engineering student has created an amazing new invention to prolong battery life in iPhones and blackberries. Read all about it.

Huge breakthrough in tiny module
Atif Shamim’s wireless connector can extend the battery life of devices like the iPhone and BlackBerry by up to 12 times.

Sarah Schmidt, Canwest News Service
Thursday, November 27, 2008

An Ottawa inventor has pulled off something the titans of innovation behind the iPhone couldn’t — find a way to reduce power consumption of the “power-sucking” device to increase battery life.

Atif Shamim, an electronics PhD student at Carleton University, has built a prototype that extends the battery life of portable gadgets such as the iPhone and BlackBerry, by getting rid of all the wires used to connect the electronic circuits with the antenna.

Research on the invention, to be published in the upcoming edition of Microwave Journal, has already received international accolades.

Atif Shamim, a Carleton electrical engineering student, sets up his equipment in the anechoic chamber at a university lab.

Atif Shamim, a Carleton electrical engineering student, sets up his equipment in the anechoic chamber at a university lab.

Julie Oliver, The Ottawa Citizen

Last month, the article about the invention, co-authored by Muhammad Arsalan and adviser Langis Roy of Carleton’s department of electronics, was named the best paper at the European Wireless Technology Conference.

The invention involves a packaging technique to connect the antenna with the circuits via a wireless connection between a micro-antenna embedded within the circuits on the chip.

“This has not been tried before — that the circuits are connected to the antenna wirelessly. They’ve been connected through wires and a bunch of other components. That’s where the power gets lost,” Mr. Shamim said.

He estimates his module consumes 12 times less power than the traditional, wired-transmitter module. It is also much simpler in design, lowering the overall cost of any hand-held device, he said.

The judges at the European wireless conference lauded Carleton students’ paper for the “excellent integration of system design, material sciences and electromagnetic antenna design.” They also said the innovation is “highly relevant, with large potential for commercialization.”

Mr. Shamim has filed patent applications in the U.S. and in Canada, in the knowledge consumers continue to gripe about the short lifespan of the iPhone battery.

“It’s a common problem. There are so many applications in the iPhone, it’s like a power-sucking machine,” said Shamim.

In June, 2007, Apple tried to answer critics who had given the iPhone low marks for its short battery life. Five months after unveiling the new product, the company announced the iPhone could now get up to eight hours of talk time, up from the five hours of talk time and 16 hours of audio playback at the launch.

If an iPhone battery needs repairing, Apple will service it for $89, plus $10.77 for shipping for Canadian customers. All data on the iPhone is lost during the service, which normally takes three business days.

Earlier this year, the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation honoured Mr. Shamim and Mr. Arsalan as student researchers of the year for their work in the field of wireless biomedical sensors. Also honoured was University of Ottawa student David Nadeau, for his contribution to the “more intelligent online search engine,”