Connect you with the world

Start uploading picture, videos and write about your activity to share it with friends and family today. Sign-up here »

Already a member?

Remember Me

Archives for wireless charging

Charge As You Drive

Nikola Tesla envisioned supplying power to the world without the need for a tangle of wires strung everywhere. The closest he ever came to realizing wireless transmission was the Tesla coil, which he created in 1891. However, his dreams were much bigger, encompassing a global wireless power grid that any home, business, or vehicle could tap into at will.

Now, researchers at Stanford University think they may have gotten the wireless charging technology right, as they’ve been able to transmit electricity wirelessly to a moving object nearby. If their technology is scalable, they may have discovered a way to allow electric cars to recharge as they’re in motion, eliminating issues of charging station availability and EV battery range. If that final hurdle is truly overcome, electricity could easily become the standard vehicle fuel worldwide.

Senior study author and professor of electrical engineering Shanhui Fan said in an interview for Stanford News, “We still need to significantly increase the amount of electricity being transferred to charge electric cars, but we may not need to push the distance too much more.”

Image Credit: Sid Assawaworrarit/Stanford University
Image Credit: Sid Assawaworrarit/Stanford University

As the team described in their recently published Nature study, the transmission achieved was much smaller than would be needed to power vehicles. However, they did reach a kind of mid-range wireless power transfer based on magnetic resonance coupling. Electricity coursing through wires creates an oscillating magnetic field, and it’s this field that causes a nearby coil’s electrons to oscillate. This in turn transmits power wirelessly. However, it’s a complex process and is only efficient when the oscillating coils are tuned with respect to the moving object.

Until now, this has been one of the primary problems for wireless energy transmission, because there hasn’t been a way to get the coils to automatically tune to moving objects. The researchers solved this problem by using a feedback resistor and voltage amplifier system to detect where it should be tuned to without help from humans.

Tesla’s Wireless Future Arrives

This research is part of an overall push toward safer, clean energy highways with more manageable traffic that will eventually support self-driving cars.

“In theory, one could drive for an unlimited amount of time without having to stop to recharge,” Fan explained in the interview. “The hope is that you’ll be able to charge your electric car while you’re driving down the highway. A coil in the bottom of the vehicle could receive electricity from a series of coils connected to an electric current embedded in the road.”

The Technologies That Power Self-Driving Cars [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

With coils embedded in the roads, we could eventually enjoy a totally automated highway system. Self-driving electric vesicles could be wirelessly charged en route, and GPS and other navigation systems would also be powered wirelessly. How different is this outcome compared to Tesla’s vision of the global power grid?

His “World Wireless System” would have dotted the globe with wireless towers that transmitted power — along with data — to each other, and individual users could tap into the network with antennae. Although his plan never got past the first tower, which was demolished exactly 100 years ago, his vision of the future was really very accurate. Now that the Stanford team has this piece in place, hopefully we’ll see the rest of it happening soon.

The post Stanford Scientists Are Making Wireless Electricity Transmission a Reality appeared first on Futurism.

Going Wireless

It’s fair to say that wireless charging has yet to catch up with the advances we’ve made in mobile technology. But Israeli start-up, Wi-Charge, believes they can do something about it — using infrared technology.

Generally, wireless tech can be classified as near field and far field. Today, we see near field technology in close-range wireless charging options. Far field technology also exists, but are all in the very early stages of development. And while they offer more distance and more power, they’re still largely limited. Wi-Charge aims to change that.

Wi-Charge’s approach uses a transmitter mounted on the ceiling that  converts energy into infrared light. The light then gets beamed across an open area where a device receives the light and converts it into energy. The result is a wireless, dockless charging solution that can power devices with the same ease with which people connect to Wi-Fi — but without a password.

The Future of Wireless Charging

Wi-Charge’s technology can also deliver a wide range of wattage — from a few milliwatts capable of powering small sensors, to hundreds of watts, which can be used in industrial or even military applications. In contrast, Yank Tech’s The MotherBox is promising to provide wireless charging for Android and iOS devices at a rate of two to 10 watts, depending on the distance. The added power of Wi-Charge’s infrared system allows its applications to broaden beyond making sure everyone’s smartphones don’t die in the middle of a Netflix show.

This kind of charging capacity and capability could lend itself to our efforts to further the adoption of electric vehicles, as it would enable electric cars to support long-range driving.

Wi-Charge’s novel approach does have some disadvantages, though. Because it uses light from lasers to deliver energy, you won’t be able to charge devices if they’re inside a purse or your pocket. But considering typical smartphone habits, where we usually have our phones in our hands or on a table, Wi-Charge technology will likely be able to beam energy into our devices. Many of Wi-Charge’s products are still in Beta testing, so it may be a while before they can brighten our lives.

The post Now You Can Use Light to Wirelessly Charge Your Devices appeared first on Futurism.

Tech start-up Yank Tech, named after its founder Josh Yank, wants to deliver “the first wireless charger that can REALLY wirelessly charge your device.” The company set up an Indiegogo campaign to fund their endeavor, and has already far exceeded their $25,000 goal.

The MotherBox promises to provide wireless charging of your Android or iOS devices at a rate of two to ten watts, depending on the device’s distance from the MotherBox. The device itself looks like a mini soccer ball, and does need to remain plugged in. The company is also offering a smaller battery-operated version that does not need constant power. Also, your device must be fitted with a receiver via its USB charging port.

While the product does have its limitations, this could be the first step in widespread wireless charging for devices. As more devices are joining the Internet of Things, and connecting us in unprecedented ways, traditional wires and plugs are not going to be enough to power the sheer number of devices.

You can reserve your MotherBox via the Indiegogo campaign today, taking advantage of an extended early bird special for $79. The first shipments are scheduled to begin in September of this year.

The post A Company Has Finally Said They Will Bring “Real” Wireless Charging appeared first on Futurism.

QSCR

It seems like almost everything has gone wireless. Yet somehow, when it comes to charging electronic devices, we still have to deal with cords. Sure wireless charging exists, but only for small devices like your smartphone. And even then, it’s not convenient as you might hope. To actually power a device, a phone must maintain contact with a charging pad, which means it can’t be used while charging. This seems to be even a bigger hassle than dealing with cords and cables.

That’s not to say, however, that advances aren’t being made in this field. For instance, researchers from Disney Research just demonstrated a new method of charging called quasistatic cavity resonance (QSCR) that allows power to be wirelessly transmitted throughout a room, which means you can easily go about using your devices while you charge your battery.

CLICK TO VIEW FULL INFOGRAPHIC
CLICK TO VIEW FULL INFOGRAPHIC

QSCR works similar to how WiFi hotspots provide internet connectivity wirelessly. To demonstrate, the team built a 16×16-foot room with aluminum walls, ceiling, and a floor with a bolted aluminum frame. The interior was then filled with near-field standing magnetic waves. The result was a room that was able to power cell phones, fans, and lights simultaneously without the use of cords, cables, or awkward charging pads.

By inducing electrical currents in the metalized interior, they were able to generate uniformed magnetic fields that then transmitted to receiving coils which follow the same resonant frequency. Devices that operate in the same megahertz frequency could receive power at any point in the room, while magnetic waves that don’t have the same frequency are unaffected.

Research simulations show that this method can effectively transmit 1.9 kilowatts of power, which could fully charge 320 smartphones.

Real Wireless Charging

Scientists have been working for years to create stable and reliable wireless power transmission. But, the closest we have come to achieving it today, prior to this breakthrough, was through using charging pads and cradles, which don’t offer much distance. This new development is the first step towards truly wireless charging tech.

To make this technology commercially available, there won’t be a need to construct entirely new, metal rooms. The researchers believe that as they refine the technology, it will be possible reduce the required metal for interiors. They also think that people will be able to simply add modular panels, use conductive paint, or install copper poles in existing structures to get the same results.

This innovative method could be a technological game changer because it essentially makes electrical power as accessible as WiFi, lending itself to new applications—from portable electronics to robotics.

“In this work, we’ve demonstrated room-scale wireless power, but there’s no reason we couldn’t scale this down to the size of a toy chest or up to the size of a warehouse,” said researcher Alanson P. Sample.

The post Charging Your Devices Could Soon Be as Simple as Connecting to WiFi appeared first on Futurism.

General Motors and WiTricity have begun working together to make wireless charging of electric vehicles not only more efficient but also more accessible. The collaboration involves testing WiTricity’s prototype Drive 11 park-and-charge system, which could work with vehicles that have 7.7 kilowatt or 11 kilowatt systems. Electric vehicles could just park over a designated area, and the batteries would start filling up.

Juli Clover
Juli Clover

This hopes to address the unexpected hassles that came with owning EVs, particularly that of recharging. Although owners of EVs have foregone countless tedious trips to gasoline stations to pump fuel, they have had to deal with the new troubles of cables and adapters. Imagine coming home and forgetting to plug in your electric car, then waking up to find that it has no juice left to run.

Other partnerships have had a head start on the wireless EV charging game, but GM and WiTricity hope to take it one step further, like installing “charging pads” in public spaces and parking lots. Further, the technology is being developed so that it could be compatible with all EV models. International standards, however, are yet to be finalized. According to SAE International, the authority in wireless charging, commercialization isn’t likely until 2020.

The post New Partnership is Bringing Wireless Charging to Electric Vehicles appeared first on Futurism.