Wireless Power For Laptops, Cellphones?

Battery technology has come a long way; more power from cells that are smaller and lighter. But what about devices like laptops, cellphones and Roombas that have no batteries, never need to be plugged in, but still work?

If you've read science fiction or know about the early history of electric power, you've heard this story before. Before the American landscape was covered with wires, inventors like Nikola Tesla thought it might be possible to beam energy through the air. The largest Tesla coil ever built could generate 300,000 watts of power, creating bolts of lightning 130 feet long. Tesla actually managed to successfully transmit about 30 to 50 thousand watts of power without wires using the coil.

However, this kind of power transmission typically required uninterrupted line-of-sight; the beam was usually focused on the object needing power, which means that some method of tracking objects was also needed.

Marin Soljacic, Aristeidis Karalis and J.D.Joannopoulos recently published a paper on Wireless Non-Radiative Energy Transfer, in which they describe several ways of using energy-transfer methods over short distances (like within a room or office cubicle). Rather than filling a space with electromagnetic radiation; the transmitting side of the device would provide a "non-radiative" field that would provide energy only to devices designed to resonate with the field. Unused energy would be (for the most part) reabsorbed by the emitting device.

Researchers worked with two well-known electromagnetic resonant systems: dielectric disks and capacitively-loaded conducting-wire loops. In their study, both showed acceptable performance.

the proposed mechanism is promising for many modern applications. For example, in the macroscopic world, this scheme could be used to deliver power to robots and/or computers in a factory room, or electric buses on a highway (source-cavity would in this case be a “pipe” running above the highway). In the microscopic world, where much smaller wavelengths would be used and smaller powers are needed, one could use it to implement optical inter-connects for CMOS electronics, or to transfer energy to autonomous nano-objects (e.g. MEMS or nano-robots) without worrying much about the relative alignment between the sources and the devices.
My favorite science fiction story dealing with radiant power is Robert Heinlein's Waldo, published in 1942. In reading the story, you need to remember that radiant power transmission was all the rage in the 'Teens and 'Twenties.

He had seen radiant power grow up. He had seen the great transmission lines removed from the sky - mined for their copper.
(Read more about radiant power)

Update 04-Nov-2006: As it happens, E.E. "Doc" Smith mentions something very much like this charging scheme in his 1930 novel Skylark Three:

"No wiring — tight beam transmission. The Fenachrone do it with two matched-frequency separable units."
(Read more about Matched-Frequency Separable Units)

Take a look at some other power alternatives:

Read the Soljacic, Karalis and Joannopoulos paper Wireless Non-Radiative Energy Transfer. And thanks to Winchell Chung for the update.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/16/2006)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

Jet-Powered Flying Suits Tested By Navy
'With his motor in operation, he moves like a diver, head foremost...' - Philip Frances Nowlan, 1928.

Pub Installs Electrified Fence Around Bar
'I start twelve immensely strong wires--naked, not insulated --from a big dynamo...' - Mark Twain, 1889.

Armano Remote Control Excavator
'The bulldozer moved through the... mine... ' - Niven and Pournelle, 1981.

Metalenses Now Reconfigurable With Liquid Crystal
'Hufhuf oil held in static tension...' - Frank Herbert, 1965.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Jet-Powered Flying Suits Tested By Navy
'With his motor in operation, he moves like a diver, head foremost...'

Pub Installs Electrified Fence Around Bar
'I start twelve immensely strong wires--naked, not insulated --from a big dynamo...'

What Does A Tesla Full Self-Driving Car See?
'All objects within my panoramic gaze trembled and vibrated like quick motion pictures...'

BioVYZR Is Ready, Anti-Covid19 PAPR Lovers
'Some clad in the insulated space-suits, with their transparent glassite helmets.'

Tesla Will Have Metal Gear Snake Autocoupler, Musk Confirms
'Its motion was so swift, complex, and perfect that at first I did not see it as a machine, in spite of its metallic glitter.'

Starlink Satellites Leading Edge On-Orbit Debris Mitigation
Propulsion-assisted orbital decay, brought to you by SpaceX.

Healight Ultraviolet Endotracheal Device Has Covid-19 Treatment Potential
'He applied the tip of the instrument to the interior of the wound...'

Parents Use AI To See One Last Message From Their Deceased Son
'...what's to keep me from showing face, Man?'

Satoshi Tomizu Creates Pocket Universes And Worldcraft Bubbles In Glass
'The Worldcraft bubble glittered, catching the light...'

Space Hero Inc. Offers Trip To ISS As Reality Show Prize
'This is Elmer Schmitz, presenting to you the finalists in our Aviation Quiz Program...'

I Love Ceiling-Mounted Robots
'Immediately an enormous apparatus fell on to her out of the ceiling...'

Armano Remote Control Excavator
'The bulldozer moved through the... mine... '

OK, NASA 3D Printer Of Food Not Yet Star Trek Food Synthesizer
Maybe not, but we're seeing definite progress.

Kelly Clarkson Show Like Black Mirror '15 Million Merits'
'These people are pieces of software called avatars.'

Salto Jumping Robot Now Sticks Landing!
'Lucky touched the leap knob and the hopper's leg retracted.'

Gyroscopic Median-Straddling Mass Transit Vehicles
'It was among these leviathans that the little gyrocar was daring to thrust its puny self...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.