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Thursday, June 07, 2021

Not long ago, when I was wrapping up a bitch session over current portable-electronics battery shortcomings, I offered up this wild speculation:

Even crazier talk: I think it’s time consumer electronics manufacturers really address the paltry power sources they provide. I realize it’s no easy trick to improve upon battery technology. But it’s time to start thinking outside the box. Maybe a way to draw electricity from the air, ala Tesla coils? It’d be good as a supplement, at least. And it’s not like the manufacturers are beholden to battery providers or power companies.

Wireless Power Transfer, a pet project by MIT physics professor Marin Soljacic that’s now showing signs of practical application, isn’t quite the solution I wanted. You still need to put your device in a recharge station and then rely on the battery to last for however long it will.

But it’s in the same neighborhood:

The key is to get the recharging device and the gadget that needs power to resonate at the same frequency - allowing them to efficiently exchange energy.

It’s similar to how an opera star can break a wine glass that happens to resonate at the same frequency as her voice. In fact, the concept is so basic in physics that inventor Nikola Tesla sought a century ago to build a huge tower on Long Island that would wirelessly beam power along with communications.

The truly new step, which is what was described in the paper in Science, was that the MIT team carried the concept out. The scientists were able to light up a 60-watt bulb that had “no physical connection” with the power-generating appliance.

So far, it’s only about 40-45 percent efficient — meaning a lot of energy gets wasted in the process. Maybe some of that spillover can get pulled in by mobile devices, ala my original idea? I’m keeping hope alive!

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 06/07/2021 11:53:12 PM
Category: Tech, Science | Permalink |

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  1. THE AGE OF WIRELESSNESS…

    He uses it as a stepping stone toward reviews of a bunch of overprice Bluetoothed trinkets, but David Pogue brings up a good observation about how external wires are being phased out of our tech toyland:
    Yes, wires. If you hadn’t noticed, they’re d…

    Trackback by Population Statistic — 08/18/2007 @ 02:24:54 PM

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