Look Ma, No Wires!

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed the basis for a technology that could bring wireless convenience to battery recharging, allowing you to pack all those adapters into a drawer for good.


There's something very inefficient in the way we power many of our portable electronic devices, periodically attaching them to adapter-cord tethers so batteries can be recharged and operation can once again become truly "portable." Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed the basis for a technology that could bring wireless convenience to battery recharging, allowing you to pack all those adapters into a drawer for good.

The MIT team, with members from the school's physics, electrical engineering and computer science departments, along with its Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, adapted known qualities of magnetically coupled resonance to transmit electricity from a power source to light a 60 W light bulb seven feet away. Calling their process "WiTricity," the researchers say the technology operates even with line-of-sight interruptions, but without harmful effects on humans or animals.

Both the power source and receiving device incorporate copper coils, designed to resonate with each other. This resonant relationship ties sender and receiver coils together without affecting the surrounding environment. Though the transmission range is limited, developers say power levels sufficient to run a laptop computer could be transmitted over room-sized distances.

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