Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Table lamps, smart phones: In with antennas, out with electrical cords

Date:
September 4, 2013
Source:
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Summary:
The pretty designer lamp on the table is meant to add charm to the room. If only the annoying cord wasn’t there, then you could also put the lamp in the center of the table when it suited you. In future, you will be able to do just that thanks to SUPA Wireless technology. SUPA stands for Smart Universal Power Antenna, and the technology removes the need for electrical cords, whether for lamps, laptops or smartphones.

These office lamps are powered cordlessly.
Credit: Fraunhofer ENAS

The pretty designer lamp on the table is meant to add charm to the room. If only the annoying cord wasn’t there, then you could also put the lamp in the center of the table when it suited you. In future, you will be able to do just that thanks to SUPA Wireless technology. SUPA stands for Smart Universal Power Antenna, and the technology removes the need for electric cables, whether for lamps, laptops or smartphones. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Electronic Nano Systems ENAS have developed SUPA Wireless together with colleagues at the University of Paderborn and four medium-sized technology companies. “Without cables, you can put your lamps anywhere you like on the table – and they look better to boot,” says Dr. Christian Hedayat, department head at Fraunhofer ENAS in Paderborn.

But if there are no cables and no batteries, where does the lamp get its electricity from? The principle is similar to that of an induction cooker: fitted in the table is a network of coils, each of which represents one transmitting antenna. If electricity flows through these coils, they generate a magnetic field. This in turn induces electricity into the coil fitted in the lamp, which lights up. However, the researchers were not satisfied with the lamp being supplied with electricity only at a specific point on the table: they wanted it to work anywhere on the tabletop. But this means that a magnetic field has to be generated wherever electricity is required – in other words, on the whole table. One solution would be to install a giant coil in the table, although this would not be very practicable. The researchers opted for a different route: “We populate a printed circuit board (PCB) with numerous antennas in such a way that a magnetic field is generated only under the surface of the receiver. The distances between the antennas and the dimensions of them are carefully chosen to produce a homogeneous field,” says Hedayat.

Cordless lamps available from late 2014

The researchers have also come up with a clever solution to ensure that radiation levels are not excessive: only the antennas fitted directly beneath where the receiver is standing are switched on; all the rest stay switched off. But how does the system recognize where the lamp is standing? “There are two approaches: a physical one and a numerical one,” reveals Hedayat. The physical approach is based on the fact that the antennas perceive the receiver – that is, the lamp – as a specific load. The scientists exploit this electrical “signature”. The researchers are currently working on the numerical approach: the antenna “speaks” with the receiver, asks for its identification, and then inquires whether it is entitled to receive energy. The researchers also plan to make the question of how much energy the lamp needs part of the “conversation”. In order to further reduce radiation, the scientists have restricted it to a very short transmission range above the table. That is enough to power common electronic devices such as cellphones and tablet computers. The final development phase is currently beginning. Now it is a matter of getting the technology market-ready. According to the researchers’ targets, the first application to be launched will be the lamp including PCB in late 2014. The PCBs will be supplied in various sizes so that customers can retrofit both small and large tables.

As well as cordlessly powering lamps, however, the system is also capable of powering laptops and smartphones etc. without any cables. For such devices, the researchers have built in an additional functionality. “We don’t transmit just energy through the table, but data too,” says Hedayat. And SUPA Wireless can also be integrated in medical applications, for instance to supply implants with energy. Take pressure sensors, which are implanted in the brain of stroke patients and set off an alarm when the brain pressure gets too high. Until now, these implants are usually powered by batteries, and when the batteries were empty, surgery was needed to replace them. With the new technology, these operations become unnecessary – making life a little easier for patients.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Table lamps, smart phones: In with antennas, out with electrical cords." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130904093303.htm>.
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. (2013, September 4). Table lamps, smart phones: In with antennas, out with electrical cords. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130904093303.htm
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Table lamps, smart phones: In with antennas, out with electrical cords." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130904093303.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Drone King Says the Revolution Depends on Regulators

China's Drone King Says the Revolution Depends on Regulators

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Comparing his current crop of drones to early personal computers, DJI founder Frank Wang says the industry is poised for a growth surge - assuming regulators in more markets clear it for takeoff. Jon Gordon reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand

3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand

AP (July 30, 2014) 3-D printing is a cool technology, but it's not exactly a hands-on way to make things. Enter the 3Doodler: the pen that turns you into the 3-D printer. AP technology writer Peter Svensson takes a closer look. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
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