WiTricity: Transmitting Electricity Wirelessly

By Eric Chabrow  |  Posted 06-11-2007
You think WiFi was revolutionary, picture technological advances that WiTricity will bring. WiTricity? Yes, transmitting electricity wirelessly.

In an experiment revealed this week, a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's departments of Physics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies lit a 60-watt light bulb from a power source seven feet away with no physical connection between the power source and the bulb. The researchers employed two magnetic coils, 20 inches in diameter, designed to resonate together. The team labeled the concept WiTricity, for wireless electricity.

"Imagine a future in which wireless power transfer is feasible: cell phones, household robots, mp3 players, laptop computers and other portable electronics capable of charging themselves without ever being plugged in, freeing us from that final, ubiquitous power wire," an MIT statement says. "Some of these devices might not even need their bulky batteries to operate."

According to the researchers, power levels more than sufficient to run a laptop can be efficiently transferred over room-sized distances even when objects completely obstruct the line-of-sight between the power source and appliance. "As long as the laptop is in a room equipped with a source of such wireless power, it would charge automatically, without having to be plugged in," one of the researchers, MIT physics professor Peter Fisher, said in a statement. "In fact, it would not even need a battery to operate inside of such a room."

If [or should it be when] commercialized, the researchers foresee, WiTricity could cut society's dependence on those heavy and expensive batteries.

Read Eric Chabrow's Parallax View blog here.