Last year, Samsung unveiled a television remote with solar panels fitted on the back. This year, the company is taking things a step further, adding technology that allows the remote to charge from virtually every electronic device in the home. Called the Eco Remote, the new version still has solar panels on the back, but it also has RF harvesting technology, which allows charging from radio waves.
RF harvesting stands for ‘Radio Frequency’ harvesting and allows the remote to draw power off devices like routers, mobile phones, wearables and even some headphones, which emit radio waves in your home. The company says that the remote will charge itself by “collecting routers’ radio waves and converting them to energy”.
To be clear, it still has solar panels on the back, which will likely be responsible for the bulk of the charge. The Eco Remote works with Samsung’s high end “lifestyle” televisions, like The Frame, Samsung Serif and the Sero, and it charges using both indoor and outdoor light. And if both solar and RF harvesting aren’t enough, there’s an USB Type-C port as well, which will charge the remote the fastest.
“Supposing that a typical TV is used for around seven years, changing the batteries in its remote just once a year would mean that 14 batteries would get used and thrown out,” said Kwanyoung Kim, an engineer at Samsung last year, when the Eco Remote was unveiled.
Based on that number and Samsung’s yearly TV sales around the world, the company estimated that its remotes account for 99 million discarded AAA batteries. “If we apply it to annual TV sales overall, it adds up to nearly 3.1 billion batteries,” the company said. Which might be true, but begs the question why Samsung’s environmental concerns come only with its high end televisions.