Azara Blog: Wireless power transmission

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Date published: 2007/06/08

The BBC says:

A clean-cut vision of a future freed from the rat's nest of cables needed to power today's electronic gadgets has come one step closer to reality.

US researchers have successfully tested an experimental system to deliver power to devices without the need for wires.

The setup, reported in the journal Science, made a 60W light bulb glow from a distance of 2m (7ft).

WiTricity, as it is called, exploits simple physics and could be adapted to charge other devices such as laptops.

"There is nothing in this that would have prevented them inventing this 10 or even 20 years ago," commented Professor Sir John Pendry of Imperial College London who has seen the experiments.

"But I think there is an issue of time. In the last few years we have seen an exponential growth of mobile devices that need power. The power cable is the last wire to be cut in a wireless connection."

Professor Moti Segev of the Israel Institute of Technology described the work as "truly pioneering".

The researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who carried out the work outlined a similar theoretical setup in 2006, but this is the first time that it has been shown to work.
...
Measurements showed that the setup could transfer energy with 40% efficiency across the gap.

The bulb was even made to glow when obstructions such as wood, metal and electronic devices were placed between the two coils.

"These results are encouraging. The numbers are not far from where you would want for this to be useful," said Professor Soljacic.

Great stuff, although with 40% efficiency you can already hear the so-called environmentalists whining in the background about this new technology. (No doubt the efficiency can be improved but it's hard to believe it would ever be anywhere near 100%.) And when will we get the first lawsuit claiming this causes cancer?

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