We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,258 News Articles

Wireless power supply gets closer

True wireless capability

Scientists are creeping closer to delivering power without a cord. This would enable truly wireless devices.

MIT researchers are working on the well-known phenomenon of electromagnetic induction, by which a current running in one coil can induce a current in another nearby coil, but now claim to be able to extend this effect over much longer distances than previously thought possible.

At the moment, that is still the length of a room thanks to what's known as a "non-radiative" power transmitter that can generate an electrical field that a specially designed receiver, in a laptop or mobile phone for example, can pick up and use to charge its batteries.

The non-radiative part is important: attempting to transfer energy between two points via electromagnetic radiation is both inefficient and potentially dangerous.

Speaking at the annual 2006 American Institute of Physics' Industrial Physics Forum, MIT's Marin Soljacic and two colleagues, Aristeidis Karalis and John Joannopoulos, explained that they began wrestling with the problem when Soljacic found, yet again, that his mobile phone battery had died in the early hours. "Wouldn't it be great if this thing charged itself?" he had asked himself.

So far, the research consists of theoretical calculations and simulations. But the team did conclude that with such a non-radiative power source, a laptop could recharge itself by being a few metres away.

IDG UK Sites

Black Friday 2014 tech deals UK Live: Best Black Friday deals from Apple, Amazon, Argos, eBay,...

IDG UK Sites

Black Friday feeding frenzy infects the UK

IDG UK Sites

VAT MOSS: Will I be affected by the EU VAT changes? Here are the facts for designers and artists

IDG UK Sites

Black Friday 2014 UK: Apple deals, Amazon deals & Black Friday tech offers