In context: Last year, Samsung introduced the Eco Remote--a television controller that promised to do away with the need for disposable batteries. Instead, it had a bank of solar panels that topped off an internal battery using outdoor or indoor light.
This year the Eco Remote has another trick up its sleeve. Along with unveiling its newest top-of-the-line TVs, Samsung announced that its Eco Remote now includes radio frequency harvesting. A "rectenna" receives radio signals from your WiFi router and converts them to energy.
Charging via RF harvesting can be very slow because the amount of captured energy is not that much. However, TV remotes are a perfect application since they are low-power devices. Additionally, the Eco Remote still has solar and USB charging to use when needed.
Last year Samsung touted that the Eco Remote would eliminate the disposal of 99 million batteries over the average lifespan of its TVs (seven years). Furthermore, the remote is not a standalone item. The Korean tech giant said all 2022 Samsung televisions include an Eco Remote.
The company didn't go into great detail regarding the new cool yet gimmicky device, but it's not an entirely novel concept. In 2019, MIT researchers revealed that they had created a "2D" flexible rectenna that they hoped to apply to wearables, laptops, phones, and other devices.
Additionally, Apple and others have tossed the WiFi-charging idea around for at least five years. Apple's vision is to have RF harvesting powerful enough to charge devices that require more juice, so those efforts are still years away.
Samsung should have more information during its CES 2022 keynote on Tuesday.