Look Ma! No Wires!
Something I have just come across on the technology news is something demonstrated by Intel -- a wireless power system!
Their demonstration involved a stand with a 60-Watt light bulb powered by their magnetic resonance technique. This technique uses a tuned coil to resonate with the same frequency as that of the oscillating magnetic field in the power source. (image to left -- image from Daily Tech¹)
Intel demonstrated the system August 22, 2008² with the 60-Watt bulb possibly because it "...uses more power than a typical laptop computer."² While transmitting power has been possible with different technologies since the times of Nikola Tesla -- back before power-lines crossed the countryside. ...Tesla came up with the technique of AC power.
Nikola Tesla was looking for ways to transmit power over long distances; thinking that nobody would be interested in laying grids of power lines across city and countryside. Of course we now now different with our cities and countrysides criss-crossed with networks of powerlines carrying Tesla's multi-phased AC current. Image to right of Nikola Tesla demostrating wireless power transmission. (image to right -- image from Serbia the Golden Apple³)
The Intel demonstration however was of shorter range and not intended for sending power across the city, rather its intent is to power devices within the home or office without wires. It might only mean not having to plug in your cell phone, but it charging whenever at home or in the office -- or perhaps being able to use your notebook computer anywhere in the house or office without draining the battery and without needing to plug in... ever.
Another area is peripherals for the computer. Consider wireless keyboard and mouse which will never need you to replace or recharge a battery. I have been writing about cell phones and computer stuff -- perhaps focusing on it because I am writing this article on a computer and that was what they talked about in the article. Perhaps this is also because Intel is aiming in this direction. There are likely many other applications that you and I can discover.
I wonder if there are medical possibilities for keeping artificial hearts and other devices charged and running? The main power-source kept outside transmitting power to the device - magnetically coupled to the source outside?
MIT team and their setup to power 60 Watt bulb. (image to left - image from MIT News Officeª)
The efficiency of the demonstration system with the light bulb was only 75% efficiency at around a metre distance so you might not want to think about tossing away every power-cord. On the other hand, you might be able to have power stations for certain tasks... like for instance your desk might have one and all the computer equipment and peripherals might be powered by a local station in the desk. That might include charging your PDA, cellphone, mp3 player, notebook computer, portable hard drive and similar equipment as well as powering the mouse, keyboard, and other equipment without any cords crisscrossing the desk.
Still I think you might have some resonant frequencies for the desk, kitchen, entertainment unit, and...
Of course... there are always the spectres of health issues. They say that the interaction at the frequencies used with biological materials is minimal... but how minimal is minimal and what effects might there be? People are starting to consider the growing background of microwave radiation we are being bathed with even if we don't use cellphones, cordless phones, or wireless networking. Perhaps those people who line their hats with tin foil might have a good idea.
¹ "Intel Demos Bizarre Tesla-esque Wireless Power Transmission System" Jason Mick (blog) August 22, 2008 - Daily Tech.
² "Intel demos wireless power system" AFP August 22, 2008 - Canada.com.
³ "Genius From Smiljan" Serbia the Golden Apple - Nikola Tesla (Serbia).
ª "Goodbye Wires... - MIT News Office" MIT news.