A panel could one day remotely charge smartphones, tablets, and other devices within its line of sight, according to engineers at Duke University, the University of Washington, and Intellectual Ventures' Invention Science Fund.
The proposed system operates at much higher microwave frequencies and can transfer power beyond the confines of a single room. To maintain power transfer efficiency, the system would have to operate in the Fresnel zone, the region of an electromagnetic field that can be focused.
The flat antenna proposed by Duke professor David Smith would rely on metamaterials, or synthetic materials composed of many individual engineered cells. Smith says this approach would utilize liquid crystals and would thus be able to be manufactured at plants that produced liquid-crystal display TVs.
Researchers found a flat metamaterial device no larger than a flat-screen TV could focus beams of microwave energy within a distance of up to 10 meters and charge more than one device simultaneously.
Before the system can become a reality, a powerful, low-cost, and highly efficient electromagnetic energy source would need to be developed.
"I think building a system like this, which could be embedded in the ceiling and wirelessly charge everything in a room, is a very feasible scheme," Smith says.
From Duke Today
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