It was said Nicola Tesla once dreamed of a wireless powered world. Obviously, that didn’t quite pan out and the closest we get today is the wireless charging pads which are anything but perfect. For starter, wireless charging pad is not quite wireless as the pad still needs to be hooked up to an outlet and the device has to be physical placed on it to begin transferring of electricity. Furthermore, any misalignment in placement may result in non-charging and so, it looks like we are stuck at this point as far as wireless charging goes, but not if Disney can help it.
Yep, Disney. The company known for cartoons, animations and theme parks may be on to something that will lead up to the fruition of true wireless charging. The entertainment giant’s research division, aptly called Disney Research, has built an all-metal squarish room that can charge any devices with appropriate receiver that are inside the room. There’s no charging pad or whatsoever to deal with. Step in it and devices, such as your smartphone, will be receiving the sweet nectar of electrons essential to any gadget’s life just like that. Talk about Disney magic, huh? But of course, there’s nothing magical about this exciting development; it is just science.
Though exciting, it is not without caveats. To get the room to fill with electromagnetic field that would enable devices to be juiced, the technology, referred to as Quasistatic Cavity Resonance (QSCR) for ubiquitous wireless power transfer, requires a copper pole to be installed right smack in the room and the devices to be charged have to be positioned perpendicular, or orthogonal, to the magnetic field. So, any misalignment would inevitably result in non-charging. However, if the device to be charged had a receiver with 3 orthogonal coils will free it from orientation dependence. Also, the room have to be entirely metal to allow for the magnetic field to form.
Speaking of magnetic field, it usually raise the concern of long term exposure, but Disney Research assures that the system can safely transmit up to 1,900 watts without doing harm to a person for any amount of time. Health concerns aside, we wonder how a metal container, coupled with a free-flowing magnetic field, will affect the reception of variety of wireless devices that rely on radio frequency. Having said that, clearly, there’s still a lot work to be done and also, while we are progressing towards a tether-free era, this may not be so good of a news for those who are experiencing electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS).
Image: Disney Research.