Wouldn't it be wonderful if you never had to plug in your phone? Well, a team of Korean scientists say that they're one step closer to making that fantasy a reality with new wireless power transfer technology that works from over 4.5m away. And it works pretty damn well too.
This new system isn't entirely new. It improves upon the basic idea for so-called Coupled Magnetic Resonance System (CMRS) developed by MIT scientists back in 2007. A team from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, however, just announced a new option that both simplifies and improves the earlier design, extending the reach of the wireless power transfer from a little over 1.5m to over 4.5m. It does so with two 3m long boxes made of up compact ferrite core rods with coils of wire in the middle. One of the boxes generates a magnetic field, while the other induces the voltage. They call the set up a Dipole Coil Resonant System (DCRS).
In plain English, anything between the two boxes can tap into the system's power. It effectively generates wireless electricity. The researchers are ambitious about the implications of such technology: "Although the long-range wireless power transfer is still in an early stage of commercialisation and quite costly to implement, we believe that this is the right direction for electric power to be supplied in the future," said KAIST engineering professor Chun T. Rim. "Just like we see Wi-Fi zones everywhere today, we will eventually have many Wi-Power zones at such places as restaurants and streets that provide electric power wirelessly to electronic devices. We will use all the devices anywhere without tangled wires attached and anytime without worrying about charging their batteries."
For the time being though, the setup is sophisticated and a bit unwieldy. Not destined for your local Starbucks any time soon.
Rim and his team aren't the only ones with such a dream. All kinds of systems are in development around the world with plans to wirelessly power everything from TVs to city buses. Some geniuses have even developed a way to turn Wi-Fi signals into useable electricity. This new DCRS technology certainly is promising, though. In a video, the team showed how they can power an LED TV and three fans wirelessly. They also say they can charge up to 40 smartphones from the other side of the room.
But did notice how there aren't any humans in the charge zone? It makes you wonder: How much cancer does this thing cause? It's a question worth answering before tech like this comes anywhere near you or me. [IEEE via GigaOm]