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Marin Soljacic says he has the answer to wireless power, at least up to 5 meters - Image courtesy MIT
The idea of wireless energy transfer has been around for a number of years, but now MIT believes it can be done inside the lab

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have created a system that is theoretically able to power electronic devices wirelessly.  Assistant Professor Marin Soljacic of the Department of Physics and Research Laboratory of Electronics, along with MIT graduate students Aristeidis Karalis and John Joannopoulos, are working on the "evanescent coupling" technology. 

The primary downfall of other power-over-air technologies is the fact that they are extremely directional or extremely dangerous.  The first roadblock in wireless power is traditionally solved by simply increasing the power and using omni-directional antennas.  This unfortunately gives rise to the second downfall; enough of an increase in power to make omni-directional useful traditionally results in so much energy trasmitted that it is no longer safe for humans to stand near the device. 

Soljacic's team attempts to solve this problem by building an antennas that create electromagnetic fields that resonate at particular frequencies and loop back into the device rather than completely emit out into the atmosphere.  When two of these antennas operating at the same frequency have resonance loops that collide, one large loop closes between the devices and high power transmission can begin over the new electromagnetic loop. 

The technology, at least in theory, should work at distances of up to five meters.  Unfortunately, the team has not yet constructed or tested the system -- even though computer simulations and theoretical calculations both suggest that it should work. 


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wireless electricity
By msva124 on 11/16/2006 7:44:09 AM , Rating: 2
That's pretty sweet, but the fact that they're announcing it now, rather than after they've made a working prototype makes me think they are just fishing for grants. I am very skeptical that anything will come of this.




RE: wireless electricity
By Zirconium on 11/16/2006 9:59:09 AM , Rating: 2
Same here. MIT has made such boasts in the past. I recall when the OLPC project was just announced, and now as it is coming to fruition you'll notice that some of the initial promises and goals made were not met. In general, I am very skeptical of anything announced by MIT.


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