Print 78 comment(s) - last by Shadowmaster62.. on Aug 28 at 9:50 AM

It's not voodoo -- Intel's just showing off its wireless power transmission system at its IDF conference. The system could be worked into Intel's upcoming chipsets.  (Source:
Intel rounds off its developers forum with a wild new upcoming tech

Wireless is one of those hot tech catch-alls of the new millennium.  There's wireless broadcasters and receivers, utilizing such technology as WiMax, 802.11n, and Bluetooth.  There's wireless gaming controllers.  There's just about wireless everything -- except power transmission.

Wireless power transmission is something that inventor Nikolai Tesla came up with over a century ago and claimed to have perfected.  However, his mysterious work vanished with his death, and for decades the topic was left untouched.  Now there has been a resurgence in interest with several companies competing to becoming the first to offer commercially broadcast wireless power.

At the Intel Developers Forum (IDF) this month, Intel demoed just such a system.  Using two large coils it showcased a system that could send 60 watts of power at 75 percent efficiency up to 3 feet.  The power was enough to light up a bulb at the receiving end.

Justin Rattner, Intel’s chief technology officer describes, "Something like this technology could be embedded in tables and work surfaces, so as soon as you put down an appropriately equipped device it would immediately begin drawing power."

A computer-powering desk is just what Intel is cooking up in fact.  It says a desk with embedded transmission equipment could power laptops and eliminate the need for messy cables and proprietary connectors.

The new tech was first developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist Marin Soljacic.  Professor Soljacic came up with the idea of transmitting wireless power via resonant magnetic fields.  He calls the invention WiTricity, a blend of the words wireless and electricity.  The work relies heavily on the electric concept of induction.  Induction is already used commercially on a limited scale, to recharge certain powered toothbrushes.

Intel helped improve upon MIT's design, bringing the efficiency up from 50 percent to 75 percent.  Internally, Intel is speculating that the device may permit and work with the shift from batteries to supercapacitors.  While currently more expensive, supercapacitors could allow faster recharging. Mr. Rattner states, "In the future, your kitchen counters might do it.  You’d just drop your espresso maker down on them and you would never have to plug it in."

Intel calls its new technology a "wireless resonant energy link".  It uses transmitting loop antennas, less than 2 feet in diameter.

It is competing with a couple scrappy startups, who are also looking to improve upon MIT's technology.  Startups WildCharge, based in Boulder, Colo., and WiPower, based in Altamonte Springs, Fla. both are looking to make their name in wireless power history.  While both have announced consumer devices based on their upcoming technologies, their devices currently require the item to be touching the transmitter.

The advantage of Intel's device is it can transmit power even when not in contact.  And the receiver antenna is about the size of a laptop base, Intel researchers note.  Joshua R. Smith, an Intel researcher at a company laboratory in Seattle who is leading the project, states, "From Intel’s position that seems like the thing to shoot for right now.  It could be that cellphones and P.D.A.’s are even more compelling, but I think we are going to start with the laptop. It’s easy to dial down from laptops."

Mr. Smith also demoed how the technology could improve the field of robotics.  Sensors using the power transmission and reception technologies could use electric fields to detect objects, similar to how some fish detect objects in water.  In a demo the robot used these sensors to neatly grasp an apple, which it then loyally delivered to a waiting human hand.

Intel, according to Mr. Smith, will be developing a prototype of transmission system for laptops, which may be added to upcoming chipsets.  Thus, the next generation of laptops may be cord free.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Wow
By The Boston Dangler on 8/22/2008 12:09:17 PM , Rating: 5
one of the very best episodes. a classic phil hartman performance, and written by conan o'brien btw.

RE: Wow
By mmntech on 8/22/2008 2:35:51 PM , Rating: 5
Phil Hartmann left us too soon.

As for wireless energy, it's apparently only safe with DC power. It's easy to turn AC into DC but not the other way around. So unless every appliance changes to DC, we're not going to see our homes go wireless for a while. Something like this would be excellent for mobile devices though. Imagine batteryless cordless phones and laptops. There were also plans on using this technology on a large scale with microwave power which uses satellites to collect solar energy and beam it wirelessly to Earth.

RE: Wow
By borismkv on 8/22/2008 4:25:07 PM , Rating: 4
Uhh...actually, there are plenty of DC to AC converters out there. Here's a good schematic:
Two transistors, two capacitors, two diodes, a few resistors, and a transformer.
AC to DC requires:
4 diodes (or a rectifier, which is basically just 4 diodes), some resistors, two capacitors, a transformer, and a voltage regulator (if you want really clean DC).

Realistically, DC power is AC power that has had its negative voltage flipped to positive, and then cleaned up through the use of a capacitor. If you look at it with a high sensitivity oscilloscope to can see the peaks and valleys, except that it looks like a saw rather than a sin wave.

RE: Wow
By grath on 8/22/2008 4:52:32 PM , Rating: 4
While it is relatively easy to convert AC to DC, its can also be quite inefficient. The power lost during the conversion is why our wall warts and laptop power bricks get hot. As more of our appliances these days use DC it only makes sense to consolidate the conversion hardware into a higher efficiency centralized unit that could power all DC devices, rather than the multitude of lower efficiency wall warts we currently use.

As for Solar Power Satellites, that's a rather different and better proven technology. It uses the same phenomenon that causes metal objects in a microwave oven to produce sparks. The electromagnetic energy of the microwave photons hitting metal is transduced into electrical energy. The microwave beam can be focused enough that it remains efficient over the distance from orbit to Earth.

The technology the article discusses uses magnetic fields rather than electromagnetic photons as the carrier, and as a field cannot be highly focused like a microwave beam, its efficiency decreases dramatically as the distance is increased.

RE: Wow
By MicahK on 8/22/2008 10:54:21 PM , Rating: 4
Actually most appliances do run on DC... You know appliances with those big square boxes at the plugs... they are for transforming the voltage down and converting to DC so the appliance can run, they put them on the outside to save room in the actual appliance. And appliances that don't have these, usually have them built in... Your computer runs on DC, as do most electronics, so its not really a huge deal...

RE: Wow
By volantis on 8/23/2008 9:34:29 PM , Rating: 4
The Intel wireless power demonstration uses AC to transmit AC, there is no DC involved in the transmission. DC current does not create the changing current, which creates the changing magnetic field, which is necessary for wireless power transmission. Also, the Intel system is using magnetic induction whereas the Soljacic system is using electrostatic induction. Soljacic's system will transmit power further if the entire room is inside a Faraday cage. I know, because I have built such a system in 2002. Tesla's system used magnetic induction only inside of the transmitter. For his wireless power broadcasting outside of the transmitter room, Tesla utilized electrostatic induction by modulating the Earth's electrostatic field.

As for the health effects, I have done experiments with this, too. Last winter I developed athersclerosis and found that strong electrostatic and electromagnetic fields induced panic attacks. There is scientific evidence verifying that even static magnetic fields can affect blood flow rate. So if a person has weak health due to restricted blood flow, a magnetic field could be a catalyst for heart attack or stroke. Of course, the best thing to do is clean out the arteries rather than try to eliminate all magnetic fields, which I did using enzymes.

Whether the system uses electrostatic or electromagnetic induction, the frequency could also have a negative effect on the health. While suffering from athersclerosis, I discovered the 29 khz frequency of the plasma ball I kept in my house was messing around with arteries by causing vasodilation. Although vasodilation is the opening of arteries, the plasma ball was apparently opening the arteries to allow more plaque to build up, and then when I left the room, the arteries would contract and cause blood flow restriction.

So there are some serious side effects that need to be dealt with regarding this technology before it should be put into widespread use.

RE: Wow
By porkpie on 8/23/2008 11:00:48 PM , Rating: 1
So if a person has weak health due to restricted blood flow, a magnetic field could be a catalyst for heart attack or stroke. Of course, the best thing to do is clean out the arteries rather than try to eliminate all magnetic fields, which I did using enzymes.
Wrapping your entire head in tinfoil works even better. I strongly urge you to try that.

RE: Wow
By iNGEN on 8/27/2008 5:41:54 PM , Rating: 2
With the "green power" push in the USA and Europe you can expect to see a LOT of appliances become available in DC. As soon as the major brands think the market is viable they'll introduce replacement models.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki