Tuesday at the Industrial Physics Forum in San Francisco, Marin SoljaÄiÄ‡, assistant professor at MIT, along with colleagues presented an approach to power and/or charge electronic devices wirelessly from a couple of meters away.
The idea is that there would be some type of base station that the devices would need to be in proximity of to receive the transfer of energy through the air. The base station would be plugged into a regular electrical outlet, or “holes” to you old Seinfeld fans. The base station would then emit some low-frequency electromagnetic radiation around the base. The radiation would be at a specific frequency that would need to be matched by some type of circuitry component inside the gadget that would receive the power, and when the base and the component get close to each other resonating at the same frequency, the component could absorb the energy. Things not resonating would not pick up the radiation from the base station. Low frequencies keep the energy from being radioactive and traveling large distances.
The technology for wirelessly charging your gadgets is still in theory, but researches are working build a working example. The first thing that will probably come to mind for most people is the safety aspect of this type of energy moving through the air. For me it brings back thoughts of the cancer causing radiation from the big brick cell phones from years ago, and how it bring the taste of a penny to my mouth every time I used one. According to John Pendry, professor of physics at Imperial College in London, an electric field to accomplish this task could possibly pose a health risk to people nearby, but a magnetic implementation could be done just as easily and not pose a health risk. Pendry suspects that people will worry anyway.
Researchers stated they may be able to have a prototype of this wireless charging station up within a year’s time. The station would be about 50% as efficient as plugging your gadget directly into a charger, and a possible application could be placing a base station on the ceiling of each room so that your devices could constantly be charging whenever you are near them.
Source [Technology Review]
Photo / MIT.edu