We all know and love our WiFi laptops, 3G and DECT phones, and wireless TVs, keyboards, and mice. Thing is, that freedom is always interrupted by the need to re-tether and juice-up the rechargeables. So someone, somewhere must be seeking the Holy Grail of wireless power right? Oh, you betcha. In fact, Nikola Tesla (of AC power and 80's glam-band fame) was working on his Wardenclyffe Tower for long-range wireless energy transfer back in the 19th century. Now, MIT's Marin Soljacic, Aristeidis Karalis, and John Joannopoulos have outlined a relatively simple (for physicists) system that could deliver power wirelessly by harnessing the properties of resonance. You know, that phenomena which causes a played instrument to vibrate another of the same acoustic resonance or collapse bridges spanning the Tacoma Narrows when its mechanical resonance is exploited by a bit of wind. However, MIT's solution is based on the resonance associated with electromagnetic waves. Notably, they've investigated a special class of non-radiative objects with long-lived resonances that won't scatter energy like radio waves or infrared. When energy is applied to these objects, it remains bound to them allowing, in theory, for a simple copper antenna with a long-lived resonance to transfer energy to say, a laptop antenna resonating at the same frequency up to about 5-meters away -- any unused energy is simply reabsorbed. Hmmm, "reabsorbed" you say, into what? No worries, they haven't built a test system yet and besides, when the robots hear about this we'll have bigger concerns than infertility.

[Thanks, Shig]

Public Access