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Friday, June 08, 2007

Beaming Wireless Electricity

This is exceedingly cool! From the Daily Mail:

The phenomenon, called electromagnetic induction, is used in power transformers and electric motors around the world.

However, the coils in motors and transformers have to be close for power to pass from one to another. Attempting to transfer power over distances is impossible.

The breakthrough came when Dr Soljacic realised there was another way of transferring energy through the air.

Rather than sending power from a transmitter to a receiver as a conventional electromagnetic wave - the same form of radiation as light, radio waves and microwaves - he could use the transmitter to fill a room with a 'non-radiative' electromagnetic field.

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 Independent does point out a problem with the effectiveness of the breakthrough:
However, up to 45 per cent of the transmitted power was lost before it reached the lightbulb, and Professor Soljacic said the system needed to be twice as efficient before it would be as effective as chemical batteries.

It's still pretty amazing. I've been thinking for years that something like this should be possible. What an exciting time in which to live!


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