Researchers from Disney have created a power source that can charge electronics through thin air.
Nikola Tesla is widely regarded as one of the greatest inventors in history. One of his great uncompleted works involved wireless transmittance of electricity. Now Disney researchers seem to have turned Tesla’s dream into reality, with something they’re calling “Quasistatic Cavity Resonance for Ubiquitous Wireless Power Transfer.”
The new power source requires a room with “purpose built structures” built into the walls made from aluminum, as well as a copper pipe situated in the middle of the room. The pipe needs to be circled by capacitors, but will then allow for upwards of 1900 watts to be transmitted through the air with no risk of harming humans in the area. When the system is turned on, the room becomes filled with a uniform magnetic field that can be tapped into by a small wire coil hooked up to some capacitors. These can be attached to any electrical device via a small chip and can then leech the wireless power in the room and charge any electrical device.
There are some safety issues: You must remain more than 46 cm from the central pipe. Secondly, because a lot of power is stored in the walls of the room, you can’t simply keep pumping electricity in. The room has a 1900 watt capacity, but if only 100 watts are being used, there needs to be some mechanism to regulate the output.
Disney claims that the technology isn’t rigid in the design of these special rooms. A few windows or doors for example, don’t seem to alter the capabilities of the device, and it can be scaled down to create charging cabinets as well. Future iterations of the invention may even achieve the same effect with modular panels or conductive paint, instead of a room and pipe..
The technology has a lot of potential and could see many applications, least of which would be wireless power zones in Disney’s theme parks where guests could charge their phones simply by standing in the right spot. It’s not hard to imagine the same technology offering free power in airports or train stations, and maybe even coffee shops one day.