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OPLIN 4cast #549: Long distance Wireless Charging

Posted in 4cast

Anyone who has had to renovate their library to accommodate the need for multiple patrons to charge their electronic devices can get behind the idea of long-range wireless charging: simply walk into a room and have your device start to charge. Wireless charging is currently available through the use of charging pads, using a technology called inductive charging. Inductive charging requires physical contact, like placing a smartphone on a charging surface.  Long range wireless charging would eliminate this need. However, the technology is still in it’s infancy as researchers work through different delivery strategies.

  • Wireless charging is a great idea. So why hasn’t it happened? (USA Today |Edward Baig) “The broad promise is that wireless power schemes will supply juice not just to the phones and computers you carry, but to hearing aids and other wearables, sensors inside connected devices around the home and in businesses, even electric vehicles. No cables, wires or charging pads needed. So what’s the hold-up? While the technology has shown itself to work to some degree, it’s hard to do over distances. It’s very early: the potential solutions in development are incompatible with one another, in various stages of progress and aimed at different corners of the consumer and industrial market.”
  • Apple Patents Long-Range Wireless Charging (PC Magazine | Tom Brant) “Apple’s patent was awarded a little more than a month after Sony received one for a similar wireless charging concept, which envisions charging antennas embedded in a wide variety of consumer devices”
  • Disney reveals room-filling, wireless-charging breakthrough (Mashable | Lance Ulanoff) “Researchers built a free-standing room with aluminum panels covering the walls, floor and ceiling. In the center of it, a two-inch copper pipe runs vertically from floor to ceiling (We said it was ugly). Electric current runs down through the pipe, into the floor, up the walls, over the ceiling and back into the pipe, looping at 1.3 million times per second. That looping electricity creates a room-filling magnetic field that runs in a circular pattern perpendicular to the pole.”
  • Long-Range Wireless Charging: Not Quite There Yet (PC Magazine | Haniya Rae) “There is an enormous pent-up consumer demand for a long-range wireless charging technology which would enable devices such as smartphones, tablets, fitness bands, and health sensors to operate continuously without having to be plugged in or placed on a charging mat every day,” says Matthew Reynolds, associate professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington. “But long-range wireless charging has been held back by safety, efficiency, and cost.”

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