The death knell could be about to sound for electrical wires, after a US start up recently unveiled a new technology capable of broadcasting power through thin air.
For years engineers and scientists have toyed with the idea of using radio signals to transmit power, but have always struggled to capture the signal effectively because it changes frequency when reflected or refracted.
The real innovation comes in the form of a small receiver that can tune to multiple frequencies at once and convert them to a constant DC voltage sufficient to charge a phone or other low power devices. The 900MHz transmitter has a range of about a meter, meaning your phone or MP3 player could recharge while sitting on your desk.
The company has now signed a major agreement with Philips and according to reports is set to launch its first product with the electronics giant later this year in the form of a wirelessly charged LED light stick. Wireless computer peripherals including keyboards and mice are due to follow next year.
Powercast has also signed similar agreements with 100 other technology companies and is eyeing a whole raft of technologies that could benefit from its wireless charger, including mobile phones, MP3 players and, most intriguingly, pace makers and other medical devices.
The company is also confident that with power demands for many forms of electrical equipment coming down more energy hungry devices, such as laptops and games consoles, could ultimately make use of the technology.
The convenience of not having to plug in devices for recharging is likely to be the main driver for adoption of the technology. But environmentalists will note potential for plenty of green benefits with the ability to transmit power likely to slash levels of eWaste, reduce the resources required to manufacture electrical equipment, and provide a further incentive for designers to produce electrical devices with low power requirements.
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