The ability to wirelessly charge devices is now available at a distance of five metres thanks to researchers who have extended the maximum possible range.
The technology, which has been developed by researchers in Korea, could lead to ‘Wi-Power zones’ in the future according to one member of the team behind the hardware.
It is hoped these zones could become as popular as Wi-Fi points have for internet access.
Professor Chun T Rim, from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, said the team’s work can charge 40 smartphones at once – with a power source that’s five metres away.
If successfully commercialised, it will lead to wireless charging zones being installed around cities and in shops.
The latest developments will certainly attract the attention of mobile phone manufactures who have been experimenting with wireless charging for some time now – there are more than 60 types of phones that use Qi wireless charging at present.
However wireless charging could be used to power almost any electronic device once the technology has been developed further.
Professor Rim said: “Our technology proved the possibility of a new remote power delivery mechanism that has never been tried at such a long distance.
“Although the long-range wireless power transfer is still in an early stage of commercialisation and quite costly to implement, we believe that this is the right direction for electric power to be supplied in the future.”
The professor added: “Just like we see Wi-Fi zones everywhere today, we will eventually have many Wi-Power zones at such places as restaurants and streets that provide electric power wirelessly to electronic devices.
“We will use all the devices anywhere without tangled wires attached and anytime without worrying about charging their batteries.”
The researchers at the Korean institute have built upon work by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology which used a Coupled Magnetic Resonance System (CMRS) to transfer energy wirelessly. They developed a system where the coil system is simplified and also reduced in size.
In the new set-up, called Dipole Coil Resonant System (DCRS), two coils are employed to solve the problems in the previous system. The new primary coil induces a magnetic field and a secondary coil is to receive electric power.
Tests show that under the operation of 20kHzm, the maximum output power was 1,403w at a distance of 3 metres. While at five metres the power output was 209w.
The new developments are also smaller than previous models and at present are three metres in length, 10cm in width and 20cm in height. The researchers say the technology is scalable.
Video and image three courtesy of KAIST.