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MIT makes case for wireless power


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]

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