Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wireless Energy Could Power Consumer, Industrial Electronics

Date:
November 14, 2006
Source:
Massachusetts Institute Of Technology
Summary:
Recharging your laptop computer, your cell phone and a variety of other gadgets may one day be as convenient as surfing the web -- wirelessly. Marin Soljacic, an assistant professor in MIT's Department of Physics and Research Laboratory of Electronics, described his and his MIT colleagues' research on that wireless future on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at the American Institute of Physics Industrial Physics Forum in San Francisco.

Researchers present a graphic illustrating how magnetism can transmit energy wirelessly. Marin Soljacic, left, assistant professor of physics, Aristeidis Karalis, G, and John Joannopoulos, professor of physics, use theoretical calculations and computer simulations to find ways to recharge electronics wirelessly.
Credit: Photo Donna Coveney

Recharging your laptop computer, your cell phone and a variety of other gadgets may one day be as convenient as surfing the web -- wirelessly.

Marin Soljacic, an assistant professor in MIT's Department of Physics and Research Laboratory of Electronics, described his and his MIT colleagues' research on that wireless future on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at the American Institute of Physics Industrial Physics Forum in San Francisco.

Like many of us, Soljacic often forgets to recharge his cell phone, and when it is about to die it emits an unpleasant noise. "Needless to say, this always happens in the middle of the night," he said. "So, one night, at 3 a.m., it occurred to me: Wouldn't it be great if this thing charged itself?" He began to wonder if any of the physics principles he knew of could turn into new ways of transmitting energy.

After all, scientists and engineers have known for nearly two centuries that transferring electric power does not require wires to be in physical contact. Electric motors and power transformers contain coils that transmit energy to each other by the phenomenon of electromagnetic induction. A current running in an emitting coil induces another current in a receiving coil; the two coils are in close proximity, but they do not touch.

Later, scientists discovered electromagnetic radiation in the form of radio waves, and they showed that another form of it--light--is how we get energy from the sun. But transferring energy from one point to another through ordinary electromagnetic radiation is typically very inefficient: The waves tend to spread in all directions, so most of the energy is lost to the environment.

Soljacic realized that the close-range induction taking place inside a transformer--or something similar to it--could potentially transfer energy over longer distances, say, from one end of a room to the other. Instead of irradiating the environment with electromagnetic waves, a power transmitter would fill the space around it with a "non-radiative" electromagnetic field. Energy would only be picked up by gadgets specially designed to "resonate" with the field. Most of the energy not picked up by a receiver would be reabsorbed by the emitter.

In his talk, Soljacic will explain the physics of non-radiative energy transfer and the possible design of wireless-power systems.

While rooted in well-known laws of physics, non-radiative energy transfer is a novel application no one seems to have pursued before. "It certainly was not clear or obvious to us in the beginning how well it could actually work, given the constraints of available materials, extraneous environmental objects, and so on. It was even less clear to us which designs would work best," Soljacic said. He and his colleagues tackled the problem through theoretical calculations and computer simulations.

With the resulting designs, non-radiative wireless power would have limited range, and the range would be shorter for smaller-size receivers. But the team calculates that an object the size of a laptop could be recharged within a few meters of the power source. Placing one source in each room could provide coverage throughout your home.

Soljacic is looking forward to a future when laptops and cell phones might never need any wires at all. Wireless, he said, could also power other household gadgets that are now becoming more common. "At home, I have one of those robotic vacuum cleaners that cleans your floors automatically," he said. "It does a fantastic job but, after it cleans one or two rooms, the battery dies." In addition to consumer electronics, wireless energy could find industrial applications powering, for example, freely roaming robots within a factory pavilion.

Soljacic's colleagues in the work are Aristeidis Karalis, a graduate student in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and John Joannopoulos, the Francis Wright Davis Professor of Physics. Both are also affiliated with the Research Laboratory of Electronics. The work is funded in part by the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center program of the National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts Institute Of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Massachusetts Institute Of Technology. "Wireless Energy Could Power Consumer, Industrial Electronics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 November 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061114190638.htm>.
Massachusetts Institute Of Technology. (2006, November 14). Wireless Energy Could Power Consumer, Industrial Electronics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061114190638.htm
Massachusetts Institute Of Technology. "Wireless Energy Could Power Consumer, Industrial Electronics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061114190638.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins