Sony shows off wireless power transfer prototype

By on October 2, 2009, 2:13 PM
Wireless technologies in a variety of forms have seen tremendous growth in recent years. Answering the need for on-the-go computing and customers' struggle with cable clutter, many service providers and peripheral manufacturers have turned to wireless standards to satisfy their consumer base. And yet electronic devices must be powered somehow, making the use of power cables a necessary but sometimes unsightly part of our computer and home entertainment setups.

Even though we've seen some notable progress in this area through inductive charging on devices like the Dell Latitude Z or the Touchstone charger for the Palm Pre, this technology still requires physical contact. Luckily for those keen on the idea of a truly wireless world, Sony has announced the development of a new energy transfer system which it claims will eventually eliminate the use of power cables once and for all.

In its tests the company succeeded in sending a conventional 100 volt electricity supply over a distance of 50 centimeters to power a 22-inch LCD television. The system achieves this feat through high-frequency magnetic resonance, which produces a magnetic field by feeding power into a 40cm-wide square coil of wires.

Of course being an early prototype there are a few drawbacks, including the distance over which it works and the system's 60 percent efficiency, which means a significant portion of the power fed into it is wasted. The company shared no details on how safe the technology is -- an obvious concern -- nor did it offer an estimate on when it will be ready for real world availability.

User Comments: 12

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TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"The company shared no details on how safe the technology is..."

I'm thinking pretty damn unsafe. But a good way to become sterile without having to go through a vasectomy.

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

Now that's funny, thanks TomSEA.

z0k! said:

..are they building on the Witricity concept? or coming up as a competitor?

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Come on, making electrisity fly through the air is completely safe - you just keep the resonance at the correct amplitude and there is a very low chance of anything going wrong!! I think we should soon see many of these items in daily use, such as using a power plate that sits under a babys cot to power the baby monitor without wires (very safe) and also in bathrooms to power radios that can easily be placed near to water with no worry to the occupant.

Guest said:

I saw this technology presented by the own creator on TED

excellent talk!

Guest said:

It's like transformer, it has primary (sending part, not sure how to explain, broadcaster (?)), and secondary (receiver).

During time EM radiation will be reduced significantly and this will eventually become standard. But I see a drawback in position, I think that most of the things "connected" to broadcaster will have to be directly in front (their magnetic fields completely parallel) in order to maximize efficiency of devices used. And a lot of energy WILL be dissipated in the air.

BrownPaper said:

This would really be awful if the wireless power fades in and out during a BIOS flash.

tengeta tengeta said:

Probably a microwave's worth of radiation going between the things there... but a start is a start.

Guest said:

Bring out the Tesla conspiracies! Wireless electricity! Free energy! Sterile couch potatoes! YAY!!!

Guest said:

This is going to be the future. Weither it takes 20 years or 100 years to per-fect. Just think about how great this could be when the technology is perfected. No more telephone poles, no more wires, no more gas stations (you should be able to set-up an account with "Exxon" and they can continously send your electric car power as needed. And no need to ever stop for re-fueling haha i know thats a bit of a stretch...) But I think this has been a great break thru and could possibly change the way everyone on this earth lives forever.


LightHeart said:

Maybe I could buy one for my neighbor and then use all the free energy I want

This does sound interesting and I do believe that eventually (could be many years) this will be the standard method to power things.

Guest said:

Say hello to cancer.

Really though hasn't anyone watched those TV shows with people that "mysteriously" get cancer when they live near high voltage power transfer stations (not sure what they are called exactly). Time will tell I suppose, but we won't really find out for a couple of decades at least after the technology is being used. Similar to cell phones, cigarettes etc...

Personally, I think I can manage using power cords. Besides I don't think it will ever replace power cords for a couple of reasons.

Cool thing nonetheless

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