Someday they will invent the ideal wireless charging technology that will magically charge and power my devices anywhere...
Posted by Mitch Randall on March 29, 2015
I don’t want to go down in history next to Charles Holland Duell, the commissioner of the patent office in 1898, who famously said, “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” (Actually, he didn’t say that, but it makes a good story.)
But there is a reason I stick my neck out. The reason is that the laws of physics accessible to inventors have been well understood for more than a century, and they are not likely to change.
To make my point, I would like to site the discovery of the “new physics” deamed “resonance”, and branded “Witricity” in 2007 by researchers at MIT. I was somewhat amazed at the public response to this discovery, because from everything I read in popular articles it surely seemed that MIT researchers had discovered new physics. Now that is exciting!
MIT researchers and the newly discovered “Witricity”
But in reading the scientific paper describing the experiment, it is immediately obvious (to a nerd like me) that they are using electromagnetic induction, discovered by Michael Faraday in 1831. When I went to check up on the equations, the best reference I found was a radio engineering book from 1947 – it had the exact schematic and equations. Witricity calls their technique “resonance”, but in 1947 engineers called it a “standard double-tuned coil”.
My point is that Witricity was momentarily a new breakthrough in physics that could wirelessly charge and power devices like magic. But in reality, Witricity is electromagnetic induction from 1831. As such, nerds like me can easily investigate this arrangement of coils and make predictions about performance and human safety.
I studied Witricity in great detail to understand just that. One surprising thing I found was that even if the electromagnetic fields in the room were low, the fields that surround a device being charged were high. This means that if you had your phone in your pants pocket, you were exposing your reproductive organs to intense electromagnetic fields. (Yes, the circular type).
This is a theme in physics. In order for power to get into a device through space, it has to concentrate in the space around the device. That’s just the way physics works.
I am not a fan of Witricity, because I don’t feel comfortable immersing myself 24/7 in electromagnetic fields that are powering nearby devices. And I certainly would never get close to one of the devices that is being charged. It gives me shivers to imagine charging my laptop computer with Witricity WHILE IT’S ON MY LAP!!!! That sounds too much like unintentional birth control. And can you imagine the “government population control” conspiracy theories that would spawn!?!?!
For the same reason, I am skeptical of any similar technology, like the so-called WiFi technique where multiple antennas form a focused beam of radio frequency energy on my phone. It’s cool because any one of the transmitters is low power and could be argued to be safe. But the energy is focused right at my phone, which may be in my pocket. The strength of the electromagnetic fields surrounding the phone will be very high, and that is just not a good thing as far as I am concerned. How about you?
There is yet another similar technology employing ultrasonic pressure waves. Again, it all sounds great, but ultimately there is going to be a large energy density of ultrasonic pressure waves right at my pocket or right at my head if I’m making a call. Maybe you think ultrasonic waves are safe, but are you thinking about 100 Watts of ultrasonic energy pointed at your head?
So I stand by my statement. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the perfect wireless power technology. And if it does arrive, make sure you check out my blog and I’ll tell you if it’s safe.
In the meantime, the Open Dots technology is by far the next best thing out there:
- Ultimate safety: No electromagnetic fields or radiation to fear. Zero risk of cancer!
- Random Placement: Devices can charge anywhere on the pad
- High Power: Can power devices up to 160 Watts
- Power Diverse: Low-power and High-power devices sit side-by-side
- High Efficiency: Open Dots can be made to be nearly 100% efficient. Save the planet.
- Low Cost: The tech is low-cost and is royalty-free and license-free.