Image Source: WiTricity
Something nearly every sci-fi series has in common: no wires or electrical outlets, and nobody seems to have any problem keeping a charge on their gadgets. While we’ve created better and better wireless technology here in the real world, we still can’t use it to power an entire house—let alone all of those starships we don’t have—and we still can’t charge our devices without being tethered to some kind of wire or dock.
But, the new WiTricity system might just be the first step towards creating a truly wireless world. Developed by a startup of the same name, WiTricity allows users to wirelessly charge or power their devices, for up to 7 feet of the power source.
Image Credit: WiTricity
- One WiTricity wireless energy source, including integrated WiTric™ power amplifier and WiTricity High-Q Source Resonator pad
- Two WiTricity energy capture modules, including WiTric™ power converter and WiTricity High-Q Capture Resonator
- WiTricity wirelessly powered LED light (with integrated WiTricity energy capture module)
- Two WiTricity High-Q Resonant Repeaters
- DC power supply
WiTricity uses “resonant inductive coupling” technology in order to generate a magnetic field that can travel longer distances, and carry more energy, than traditional wireless charging methods. This method allows the system’s charging plate to transmit energy to any device within its range: as long as that device is equipped with a receiver. You might remember the iPhone case the company debuted at this year’s Consumer Electronics show, which was specially designed to sync with the charging pad. The case supplied power at twice the rate of a normal smartphone charger.
While having to revamp every consumer product so it comes with a suitable receiver is definitely a hang-up for the system’s usefulness, WiTricity is confident that it will be common to see consumer products with cordless power capabilities soon than we think.
“It’ll most likely start out making it’s way commercially as a feature that’s packaged into the cost of buying a car or device,” said chief technology officer Katie Hall in Smithsonian Magazine of the technology. “But as the technology becomes more ubiquitous, businesses may start installing them [wireless charging] into walls and floor and eventually almost all buildings won’t have outlets anymore. I mean, imagine that.”
There’s all sorts of implications for technology like this—we could potentially channel energy through counters to power our kitchen appliances, or maybe even through the floors to power our washing machines or dryers. Sadly, much like starships and teleportation pods, that future is a long way off.
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