It looks like the Disney company has made Nikola Tesla‘s dream of wireless power transmission a reality. At least on a small scale.
Disney Research has announced that they have constructed a room that will allow small electronic devices to be powered wirelessly. In the same way that your smartphone uses wifi, this technology gives people the ability to connect electronic devices to an electric power source without a tether.
This idea isn’t new, and was a dream of Nikola Tesla. In the 1890’s the brilliant inventor had ambitions plans to transmit power over long distances without wires. Sadly his dreams never came to fruition. But now with the help of Disney, a working model has been created.
Researchers built their model, which uses quasistatic cavity resonance (QSCR), in a custom-made 16-by-16-foot room. The near-field standing magnetic waves they generated were able to power multiple devices, like cellphones and lights.
“This new innovative method will make it possible for electrical power to become as ubiquitous as WiFi,” commented Alanson Sample, who is a scientist at Disney Research. “This in turn could enable new applications for robots and other small mobile devices by eliminating the need to replace batteries and wires for charging.”
The QSCR method works by inducing electrical currents in the metalized surfaces of the room. These surfaces generate uniform magnetic fields that permeate the room’s interior.
Electrical power is transmitted to receiving coils that share the same resonant frequency as the magnetic fields. Potentially harmful electrical fields are isolated by discrete capacitors, and the research team feels that this technology is safe.
A report that describes their QSCR findings was published on Feb. 15, 2017 in the online journal PLOS ONE. The report was authored by Matthew J. Chabalko, Mohsen Shahmohammadi and Alanson P. Sample.
“In this work, we’ve demonstrated room-scale wireless power, but there’s no reason we couldn’t scale this down to the size of a toy chest or up to the size of a warehouse,” remarked Sample, who heads up the lab’s Wireless Systems Group.
This sort of power transmission technology is very interesting, and it will be amazing to see where its development goes from here.