MIT Working On Wireless Power: Cord-Free HDTVs Within Sight

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News Posted: Sun, Apr 18 2010 4:55 PM
Few institutions impact the world of consumer electronics as often asMIT, and it's a known fact that the entity has been working towards wireless power for years now. Wireless power remains one of the HolyGrails of electronics; even with wireless video and audio solutions inthe market, there's still a power requirement that demands at least onecable. It's the reason that wireless surround speakers can't easily bemounted anywhere; you still have to run power to each one, or at leastsignal wires with power running through them.

But MIT is getting closer and closer to making wireless energy areality. The latest research shows that efficient actually improveswhen multiple devices are charged at once, paving the way for wirelesspower to be used in group chargings possibly before solo chargings.Three years ago, MIT researchers proudly announced that they haduncovered a novel way of transmitting electricity without any wires;now, these researchers have "demonstrated that the system’s efficiencyat transmitting energy improves significantly when it is used to chargemultiple devices at the same time.

The other huge benefit about the new system is that it's tailor made topower typical gadgets. The prototype is almost in a place where itcould be used in a television set; imagine being able to wall-mount anHDTV anywhere and not have to worry about running power to it. Theopportunities would be near limitless. The transmitting coil couldtheoretically be built into a wall or ceiling, and thus far,transmissions have taken place in "ordinary room" sizes.



Those who are working on the project have also stated that it could beworked into portable devices, meaning that your next tablet or mediaplayer may be able to charge while you're sitting around using it. Talkabout a major shift in the way we think about using our devices. Ifyou're curious about how it all works, take a listen: "The system worksby creating a strong electromagnetic resonance betweenthe sending and receiving coils — similar to the way a tuning fork canstart vibrating when exposed to a sound of exactly the right frequency,or the way a radio antenna can be tuned to just the frequency of asingle station out of the hundreds that are simultaneously broadcastingtheir signals. In this case, the magnetic resonance between the twocoils is unaffected by objects in between the coils, and by the sametoken objects between the coils — including people — are not affectedby the magnetic fields."

C'mon MIT, we believe in you. And really, we're just tired of waitingfor someone to master wireless power. If 3D HDTVs were the big thingthis year, can you imagine the the buzz surrounding a TV that could runentirely without wires?
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la_guy_10 replied on Sun, Apr 18 2010 5:45 PM

This would be revolutionary I am not at all surprised this is coming from Massachusetts Institute of Technology as this is Harvard and Yale for geeks like me. This is a game changer and brings the term wireless to another level, literally. I hope this is implemented in the next few years. It will be like having a little mini sub station that sends out electrical waves that power typical gadgets throughout your home, office, ect. I just wonder what the range will be as I know people leach off wireless internet, LOL How about leaching off the full power from your neighbor. I am sure they will have a way to lock this down so this does not occur.

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3vi1 replied on Sun, Apr 18 2010 5:57 PM

The transmitting and receiving coils needed for each device are a foot across and only work at a distance comparable to the size of a room? Undoubtedly there's signal loss too, so your devices will use even more power.... Running a wire is looking pretty good about now.

I see this as a group fishing for venture capital on a product that won't be ready for a decade or two.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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Inspector replied on Sun, Apr 18 2010 8:44 PM

People are coming up with more and more wireless devices, firs the wireless blue-ray player device and now this :D. The feature is looking bright if these thing work well enough as wires. If not i rather stay in a corner charging my phone then walk around have have it use more power and maybe not even charge. Also whats the use of a wireless TV? Your not going to be moving it around so having a plug run done the back is not going to be a difference...

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I do believe that there was someone who imagined things like TVs and other devices running completely without wires. His name was Nikola Tesla :)

Yet thanks to Patent restrictions and a bunch of bureaucratic red tape, it has taken almost a century to garner any advancement in this field.

I love what the Massachusetts Institute of Technology does for the advancement of technologies. Yet when it comes to actually implementing this technology, they always get blocked by people from the outside who like to degrade it for their own advantage. This also has alot to do with our freedoms in this country. If they just let these guys do what they do best. It would really help mankind towards a better tomorrow. Instead, bureaucrats like to block any development for their own personal gains. Because replacing an entire industry or providing clean cheap energy is not profitable. much like the Ion-battery which could replace the entire power industry, yet we cant even get it in our cars. or the full spectrum solar cell they developed a few years back that could use 100% of available light to generate energy. Yet it is being blocked from development, instead they go with the older tech because they already have their foot in that profit margin!

 

Although I do imagine a world like in most science fiction, so Yes I can imagine a world where the TVs have no wires:)
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Schmich replied on Sun, Apr 18 2010 9:02 PM

"The latest research shows that efficient actually improves when multiple devices are charged at once"

Meh...doesn't exactly sound like a groundbreaking improvement, just a simple test and conclusion that can be done in one day.

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I think that this concept was presented at TEC this year. I remember HH showing an article where a TV was being wirelessly fed power and cable through nothing but magnets. Eventually scientists want to get this technology to the point where you can have your TV anywhere in the house and still be able to receive a signal and power. It looks like the MIT students are basically implementing the same thing here. Hell they probably were responsible for the TV shown at the booth from TEC. 

I wonder what kind of interference would block out this frequency though. That's probably the biggest challenge for these guys at MIT. It's not necessarily coming up with a design that's hard, but making sure that it can feed constant frequency channels to it's targeted destination without interruption. Yeah, the more I read down through the article the more I realize how much this tech talk has come up before. This will be big for laptops, and cellphones alike. I know countless times where I've had to make a call on my cellphone but was strained to an awkward position because it was plugged into a wall. 

I understand the science behind it, and it makes perfect sense. Electromagnetic fields don't harm humans and we don't effect it in the least bit. I just hope they get a breakthrough soon. Cutting the cord, no pun intended, is the next big thing for home entertainment. Not necessarily the entertainment part, but the convenience of it all. 

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moethelawn replied on Sun, Apr 18 2010 11:53 PM

As I mentioned on HH's facebook page, there are a few groups trying to make a standard in wireless power. I don't know if MIT was the basis of the research or not since you say they've been working towards it for years but they are definitely not alone - http://www.wirelesspowerconsortium.com/ - and it's Fulton Innovation that did a demonstration at CES.

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in_sOmniac replied on Mon, Apr 19 2010 12:15 AM

nikolai tesla

nuff said

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acarzt replied on Mon, Apr 19 2010 12:20 AM

I have a feeling wireless power will cause huge interferance problems, especially with audio equipment.

Running a power cable and audio cable is bad joo-joo. In car audio, the power cable is run on 1 side of the car, the audio cables on the other to prevent interference. The same is true inside a PC case. You don't run power parrallel with a data cable. It can potentially cause problems. So sending power and an audio signal at the same time, I see causing major interference.

Time will tell tho. Right now they're just trying to power light bulbs :-P

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AKwyn replied on Mon, Apr 19 2010 5:15 AM

acarzt, I don't think so.

Mainly for one thing, energy is being transferred to the device using electromagnetism, how they're transferring it, it remains a mystery. But I don't think it'll interfere with the audio equipment. I'm not entirely sure if a wi-fi signal will interfere with electromagnetism but I do think that the signal is at a different frequency which won't interfere with the electromagnetism. If you got all of these signals and all of them use the same frequency then only the stronger one will get through.

I'm not sure if I'm right or if the electromagnetism will be strong enough to block the audio signal but I don't think it'll cause interference.

 

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3vi1 replied on Mon, Apr 19 2010 9:13 AM

@TaylorKarras: Electromagnetism includes all visible light, radio waves, microwaves etc....They haven't said what frequencies they're using, but if they're using ionizing waves it would be harmful to humans, so there goes the upper end of the spectrum right there. If it were visible light, they'd call this solar power... I'm guessing it's not ultraviolet unless they invented some wild new coil/light. Microwaves would probably fry people at the required power..... So, that leaves radio waves (and potential interferences).

Until they fix some major problems, this is all a dream anyway: They say that they can get better efficiency by powering multiple devices... but when you read through, you find out that the improved efficiency is 30% of the transmitted power. So, do we want to pay 300+% of our current electric bills, or run a wire?

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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AKwyn replied on Mon, Apr 19 2010 1:47 PM

3vi1:

@TaylorKarras: Electromagnetism includes all visible light, radio waves, microwaves etc....They haven't said what frequencies they're using, but if they're using ionizing waves it would be harmful to humans, so there goes the upper end of the spectrum right there. If it were visible light, they'd call this solar power... I'm guessing it's not ultraviolet unless they invented some wild new coil/light. Microwaves would probably fry people at the required power..... So, that leaves radio waves (and potential interferences).

Until they fix some major problems, this is all a dream anyway: They say that they can get better efficiency by powering multiple devices... but when you read through, you find out that the improved efficiency is 30% of the transmitted power. So, do we want to pay 300+% of our current electric bills, or run a wire?

Oh, I guess I'm a bit rusty in my science knowledge. But I do think that different frequencies shouldn't be able to interfere with each other.

 

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3vi1 replied on Mon, Apr 19 2010 3:14 PM

>> But I do think that different frequencies shouldn't be able to interfere with each other.

And you may well be correct - unless this thing is all over the spectrum to create its effect. Oh well, they have years and years to work it out.

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acarzt replied on Tue, Apr 20 2010 5:27 PM

Here is an explaination of why running power and audio/data cables parallel will cause interference.

http://www.articlealley.com/article_570062_45.html

None of us fully understand this new technology yet... so there really is no telling if the same rules will apply.

I would imagine tho, if you are running wired speakers and wireless power together, I would think there would be interference. We might have to start using much more expensive sheilded twisted pair cables.(UTP might get the job done too... but that is also to be seen)

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