Wi-Power: Wireless charging now possible at a distance of five metres

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.”

kaistwireless

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.


Future payments: Vein scanning technology will end lengthy queues

Paying for items using the veins in your hand and our hard-coded biometrics has become a reality, with hand-scanned purchases being made.

By simply moving your hand over a scanner it is able to detect your identity and connect with your payment details to allow you to buy items without having to wait for a card to be verified or even entering a pin number.

The technology is not just a concept either, with 15 stores around the University of Lund, Sweden, where it was developed, already using the scanners to allow people to pay for products.

To date 1,600 people have been using their veins to buy items faster than usual.

As with the fingerprint scanners on latest iPhones and Samsung S5 phones, the technology provides an almost infallible security protection.

The university isn’t the first to use vein scanning as a method of payment and the technology has been around for a few years now, but it has failed to take-off commercially.

Manufacturers will hope that the likes of Samsung and Apple beginning to use scanning hardware for security will increase the public confidence in its reliability.

Earlier this year Biyo, formerly known as PulseWallet, showed off its palm scanners which are able to verify a user in one second.

The company’s scanning devices allow you to also manage your online wallet with a mobile app and online dashboard as well as showing digital receipts.

In Brazil, in the largest use of the scanning technology to date, 35,000 ATMs have been using Fujitsu’s PalmSecure scanning to help prevent fraud.

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While the vein system would almost be impossible to break, there is the worry for users that their personal details are still being held by a company that is not their bank.

For the working model in Sweden users sign up by visiting one of the stores with a terminal and enter their social security and phone number.

They then scan their palm three times and received a text message with the activation link – further information is provided by the user as part of a web form.

Fredrik Leifland, from university in Sweden, said: “We had to connect all the players ourselves, which was quite complex: the vein scanning terminals, the banks, the stores and the customers.

“The next step was finding ways of packaging it into a solution that was user-friendly”, says Fredrik.

“Every individual’s vein pattern is completely unique, so there really is no way of committing fraud with this system. You always need your hand scanned for a payment to go through.”


Image two courtesy of Biyo