Wireless Power Transfer - it is Real!

I believe everybody was happy when we were able to get rid of all the phone and Ethernet cable and connect to the Internet using WiFi. But we still need to plug in all our electronic devices to charge their batteries. And with all of them having different adaptors, connectors, voltage levels, etc., they create a big mess around us.
The dream for wireless power transfer is not something new. A team from MIT's Department of Physics, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (ISN) has experimentally demonstrated an important step toward accomplishing this vision of the future. The team was led by Prof. Marin Soljacic. Realizing their recent theoretical prediction, they were able to light a 60   W light bulb from a power source seven feet (more than two meters) away; there was no physical connection between the source and the appliance. The MIT team refers to it as "WiTricity" (as in wireless electricity).
Various methods of transmitting power wirelessly have been known for centuries. Perhaps the best known example is electromagnetic radiation, such as radio waves. While such radiation is excellent for wireless transmission of information, it is not feasible to use it for power transmission. Since radiation spreads in all directions, a vast majority of power would end up wasted into space.
WiTricity is based on using coupled resonant objects. Two resonant objects of the same resonant frequency tend to exchange energy efficiently, while interacting weakly with off-resonant objects. The MIT team focused on magnetically coupled resonators. The team explored a system of two electromagnetic resonators coupled mostly through their magnetic fields. They were able to identify strongly coupled regime in this system, even when the distance between them was several times larger than the sizes of the resonant objects, thus enabling efficient power transfer.
For more information go to http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2007/wireless-0607.html
 
The team members are Andre Kurs, Aristeidis Karalis, Robert Moffatt, Prof. Peter Fisher, and Prof. John Joannopoulos (Francis Wright Davis Chair and Director of ISN), led by Prof. Marin Soljacic.

Details on the principles and setup are available at: http://www.sciencemag.org

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