Many electronic devices, computers, phones and the Internet shrugged off their tethers with the advent WiFi hotspots. Yet, home appliances are still glued to power outlets, and most mobile devices still require a cord to charge their batteries. Now, thanks to the work of Disney Research, we are closer than ever to wireless charging.#Disneyresearch has taken us one step closer to large-scale wireless chargingClick To Tweet
Wireless Power Transmission: A Century-old Dream
At the Universal Exhibition in Chicago in 1893, Nikola Tesla showed that wireless power could be transmitted, thanks to his Tower.
This coil had the ability to create alternating currents under very high voltages, but with very low intensity. One of the applications that Tesla had thought of was the broadcasting of information around the globe.
He found a partner in financier J. P. Morgan, and went on to build the first, and only, wireless transmission station in Long Island: the Wardenclyffe Tower, at 60 meters tall, it looked like an oil derrick with a mushroom cap. Then, the Tesla financier refused to fund new changes and withdrew his funds. The tower was thus demolished in 1917.
Exactly one hundred years after the Tesla Tower was razed, experts from Disney Research announced a new method that allows charging electronic devices without wires or conventional charging cradles.
The scientist’s method, called QSCR, short for quasistatic cavity resonance, exists in a 256 sqft. room with all metal surfaces and a copper pillar placed in the center. By inducing electrical current inside the room and create a uniform magnetic field, they were able to transmit power simultaneously to several devices, fans, and lamps.
The transmission of power was possible to all receiving coils located anywhere in the room, with an efficiency ranging from 40 to 95%. Simulations showed that up to 1.9 kilowatts could be transmitted, the equivalent to simultaneously wireless charging 320 smartphones.
According to the researchers’ paper on QSCR, published in the journal PLOS ONE, the system can be scaled for wireless transmission of power in larger rooms.
Electricity to Shed its Wires: Wireless Charging Like WiFi
Plugging in electronic devices, home appliances, TV or the lampshade will become as obsolete as having to disable dial-up Internet to answer the phone.
We can expect wireless charging power (Wi-Po?) to eventually be standard features in hotels, cafes and airports lounges. Imagine roads equipped to ensure a constant flow of power to hybrid and autonomous cars, but also wireless power providers limiting access to it to squeeze out every ounce of profit.