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University of Tokyo develops expansive plastic power sheet

Darren Murph

It seems this whole "wireless power" phenomenon is just getting warmed up, as we've got yet another creation that promises to rejuvenate our gadgetry without forcing us to hunt for those easy-to-misplace AC adapters. Researchers at the University of Tokyo have demonstrated a prototype which consists of "plastic and flexible electronics" that can wirelessly provide power to "any device that touches its surface." Of course, gadgets would need to be equipped with "a coil and special power-harvesting circuitry" to receive the energy, but it still beats lugging around half a dozen adapters on every outing. While this flexible sheet still relies on electromagnetic induction like the one's that have come before it, this particular rendition features a dual-sheet design that allows it to intelligently divert power to objects touching any part of the sheet, while not wasting energy on parts not being occupied. Takao Someya, professor of engineering, estimates that there's still "about five years" before the sheet will overcome the current "reliability issues," but hopes to one day "power flat-screen panels without ever needing an electrical outlet."

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