Wireless Power

2010 Short LIst: Time-to-Adoption: Four to Five Years
New topic in 2010.

Anyone who attends a class or meeting where most of the participants have laptop computers is well aware that there are never enough power outlets—and when they are available, they are invariably located in inconvenient places. Wireless power, already being prototyped by several companies, promises to alleviate the problem by making power for charging batteries in devices readily available. Using near-field inductive coupling, power can be transmitted through special surfaces or even through open space to charge devices within a home, office, school, or other setting.

Consumer products are already entering the market; the Powermat, for instance, charges up to three devices placed onto its surface (each device must first be slipped into a compatible sleeve). Fulton Innovation's eCoupled technology is designed to be built into desk- and countertops, enabling not only power transfer but other wireless communications between devices placed on the surfaces. Witricity is developing transmitters that would be embedded in walls or other furniture, transferring power via inductive coupling to receivers attached to devices anywhere within the home or classroom. The impact of wireless power for education will primarily be felt in learning spaces; the devices we carry will become more useful and easier to maintain, with increased opportunity for longer use in a variety of settings.

Relevance for Teaching, Learning & Creative Expression

  • Lecture hall furniture fitted with wireless power options would ensure that students' laptops and mobiles are always available.
  • A suite at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas uses wireless power to charge guests' laptops, mobiles, and the LCD TV hanging on the wall: dormitories and classrooms could be supplied with the same technology.

Examples


For Further Reading

Consumers Rank Wireless Power Charging in Top 20% of Lifestyle Demands
http://www.wirelesspowerconsortium.com/view_attachment/50/Final_English.pdf
(Press Release, 27 April 2009.) The Wireless Power Consortium has been formed to set a universal standard for this emerging technology.

Wireless charging to go mainstream in 2010, says maker
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2353745,00.asp
(Eric Lai, Computerworld, 30 September 2009.) Fulton's vision of ubiquitous wireless charging pads for laptops, cell phones, and more, is well underway.

Wireless power system shown off
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8165928.stm
(Jonathan Fildes, BBC News, 23 July 2009.) This article describes the use of Witricity's wireless power via magnetic fields. Included are several videos that explain the technology.