Slightly over a year ago we heard of WiTricity, a wireless electricity technology that already enables people to connect to the power grid wirelessly. This is different from wireless charging of phones such as that found in Samsung Galaxy S6, but rather a technology that can enable you to power on the TV, the light bulbs, and even your iron box wirelessly without having to connect the device to a power socket.
The WiTricity technology “uses a source resonator, or a coil that generates magnetic field when powered by electric energy. A second coil fitted in a gadget like a smartphone’s battery, if brought within the magnetic field, will use the magnetic field from the source resonator to generate electricity in itself (the second coil) and able to use the electricity to power a load e.g. a TV set. The source coil or source resonator will create a magnetic field present everywhere in the house and hence be able to wirelessly transfer electricity to every house gadget e.g. light bulbs, TVs, cookers, etc.”
One year later, WiTricity has already launched a number of Wireless Electricity products ranging from consumer electronics, automotive devices e.g. in vehicle mobile charging gadgets, medical products and military equipment. Today, you can decide for your house to have zero electrical cabling but still watch your favorite TV programmes and even charge your phone – completely without power cables.
But WiTricity is expensive and immobile. If for example you have a WiTricity phone, you will only be able to charge it at your WiTricity home – unless the phone is dual charging enabled – that is if it is able to be charged by the traditional direct current method and also via the magnetic resonance method. But the limits of WiTricity can be overcome if research by a team at Washington University have their way. The researchers have designed a router that is capable of charging devices over the WiFi network. Typically, WiFi networks transmit small amount of power, one watt max, in form of data. Whenever you surf the Internet for instance, the information you send/receive are in form of small packets of data that bodies like the FCC have set a max limit of one watt.
This small packet of power has been captured by a new device (router) dubbed PoWiFi and used to charge a “super capacitor connected to a small camera, located 17 feet from the router; every 35 minutes, the super capacitor collected enough energy over Wi-Fi, enabling the camera to take a picture.”
Not only that, the researcher tested their PoWiFi at six Seatle homes to find out if the PoWiFi had any effect in Internet speeds. “Four of six users found no difference, and one found their Internet actually improved–though the researchers noted that the PoWifi router was a better model than their previous router.”
The current PoWiFi routers are not able to charge mobile phones since the power output of typical phone chargers are at the range of 5 watts. If the researchers could find a way of sending the already transmitted one watt power to mobile phones, then WiFi could turn to be the future of charging mobile phones everywhere; and we possibly could forget about walking around with mobile phone chargers.
Or maybe what needs to change is the technology behind the mobile phone batteries.