Saturday, June 9, 2007

Wireless Power Transfer at MIT

Yesterday technologyreview.com published an article about wireless power transfer. MIT researchers were able to transfer electricity wirelessly to make a lightbulb light up.



I would love to lead a cable free existence! No more bulky charger cables to bring along on vacation and to the office? I'm sold!



In the article Professor Peter Fisher, one of the researchers, said: "As long as the laptop is in a room equipped with a source of wireless power, it would charge automatically without having to be plugged in. In fact, it would not even need a battery to operate inside such a room."







No batteries would make my labtop a lot lighter.... Then I remembered that I am already scared of the electro-magnetic fields of my cell phone. What about the safety of living organism in such equipped rooms? The thought of overhead coils charging my laptops, cell phones and light bulbs was starting to make me very uncomfortable.



Later I read a report on dailymail.co.uk. Dr Soljacic, one of the researchers said that:



"Most objects in the room - such as people, desks and carpets - would be unaffected by the electromagnetic field. But any objects designed to resonate with the electromagnetic field would absorb the energy[....] The researchers believe there is little to worry about on safety grounds, saying that magnetic fields interact weakly with living organisms and are unlikely to have any serious side effects."











Noticing the large amount of comments to the technologyreview.com article, I got curious. The comments were heated. People seemed very knowledgable about induction coils and called the project "dungheap" and "hype".



Kitk said:



" Systems like this can put out nasty little surges of vastly higher peak power than whatever is rated--mine burned a hole through insulated aluminum sheet metal. Sure, the new ones might control that, but ANYTHING that receives this power by coupling even a little, even at a microscopic level, can be cooked! I never tried my test a second time, because I knew if the transfer went wrong, I might light up and cook. Great lab trick, but like home nuclear reactors, not too wise."



Salammoniac was really familiar with the subject matter and furious about the hype:



"[...]45% efficiency is nothing to crow about. It's lousy, requiring 133 watts to drive a 60 watt bulb. On top of that, I bet that number is coil in to coil out efficiency, not wall socket to light bulb. A simple power cord will be at least 99% efficient, socket to bulb, more if you use a fatter cord. That's why we use wires, dummy.

Having this thing running all the time is the electromagnetic equivalent of turning on the fire sprinklers, so that whenever you are thirsty, all you have to do is hold out your cup."



That doesn't sound very convincing. We'll see in a few years time. In the meantime get a new Apple labtop. At least their magnetically attached power cords won't make you trip and kill yourself ... or your computer.



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2 Comments:

Blogger Web Comments! said...

Wireless Power Transfer News, Experimental Videos And Information:
http://www.witricitynet.com

July 16, 2007 at 2:57 PM  
Blogger Xiaodong Liu said...

Wireless power can be used to generate energy from the air. This effect is reported in my paper in title of "Energy Multiplier in Retarded Resonance".

May 18, 2011 at 8:00 AM  

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