Imagine if your cell phone could be charged while in your pocket, or if your laptop could be charged while sitting in your car, without plugging it into the cigarette lighter? Such advances would make obsolete the idea of having to plug stuff in to charge its batteries, relieving us all of the inconvenience of having to do so. Well, it appears that’s about to happen. According to Technology Review, FastCompany, and CNN, wireless chargers are just around the corner.
The whole idea, they say, is the idea of induction, where an electric current is passed though a coil to create a magnetic field. If another coil is then placed on the opposite side of that magnetic field, current can be generated from it. With small coils, the magnetic field is pretty small, but if the coils are much bigger the electric field is large enough to allow for coil collectors that are big enough to actually power other electric motors. But all this, they say, isn’t really all that new. Nikolai Tesla demonstrated the whole idea over a hundred years ago. What is new is a development by several independent research labs that allows for the creation of larger magnetic fields without increasing the coil size. It’s done by harmonizing the oscillations generated in the magnetic field so that the magnetic frequency of the two coils work in harmony. This allows the second coil to reap the maximum amount of magnetism from the first instead of relying on hit and miss frequency capturing systems used in past attempts to create wireless charging systems.
One company, Witricity, is already developing a wide variety of wireless chargers that that they expect to be selling by as early as this summer. One of the first is likely to be a charging facility for allowing laptops to be charged while sitting unplugged on a tabletop. After that, they say they’ll put out a phone charger followed shortly thereafter by a much bigger system that allows for charging an electric car while it sits unplugged in the garage.
Other companies are working on similar devices, with the most popular approach, according to FastCompany, a sort of mouse pad looking device that can be used to charge any device set near it that adheres to a still developing standard. If such a standard can be adopted, many companies are expected to bring such products to marker with thirty days of its adoption, freeing electronic gadget users from ever having to plug in their multitude of devices again.