WiTricity wireless charging system ready for market
Gizmag has followed the development of the resonant wireless power transfer technology WiTricty since it was first theorized in 2007. Now it appears the technology is only one step away from being available to consumers with the developers seeing take-up by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The company has also displayed a wireless charging system designed for the iPhone 5 as proof of the capability and readiness of the technology for market.
Ever walked out of your front door ready for a busy day, or so you thought, only to realize you forgot to charge your phone the night before. Now imagine never waking up to a cell phone with a low battery again.
That is exactly what MIT Professor Marin Soljačić dreamed of back in 2006 when awoken by his phone dying in the night. He wished for a world where portable devices would charge themselves, without the need to plug in, place on a surface or be positioned carefully on an induction mat ever again. He wanted easy and safe wireless charging capable of working at mid-range distances and through a variety of surfaces.
From this idea the resonant wireless power transfer technology WiTricty was born.
The WiTricity story has progressed from powering a light globe back in 2007, to a TV in 2009, and now the technology is ready to be picked up by OEMs.
WiTricity has unveiled a charging system for the iPhone 5/5s at CES 2014 that's capable of charging two phones at once without being in direct contact with the charging hub. Using a specialized iPhone 5 cover, fitted with magnetically coupled resonators, the device is able to be wirelessly charged.
Capable of charging devices over a distance of up to 8.2 ft (2.5 m) with an efficiency of up to 90 percent, the system utilizes non-radiative energy transfer known as near-field magnetic coupling. As it does not rely on direct contact or line-of-sight, and can charge devices through a range of materials, the applications are shaping up to be many and varied. The technology can be scaled to power levels ranging from a few milliwatts to several kilowatts, allowing WiTricity the versatility to charge everything from your iPhone to an electric car.
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It would be neat if cars could charge or even just run off the grid while on the highway leaving a 100 or 200 mile range of batteries for surface streets, but I'm not holding my breath. OTOH, I wouldn't mind paying a toll for that as long as it's as cheap as or cheaper than my current $ per mile spent on an IC engine.