Disney Built a Room That’s Basically a Giant iPhone Charger – Motherboard
Magnetic fields swirl around the room to power electronics.
Current wireless charging technology isn’t quite, well, wireless. You still need a charging dock or pad that’s connected to a wall outlet, even if the connection between device and electricity is wireless.
Disney researchers, on the other hand, are working on spaces that power and charge devices just by placing them in the room.
Their work is published in a PLOS One article, “Quasistatic Cavity for Ubiquitous Wireless Power Transfer,” or, how to build a room that’ll charge your iPhone as soon as you walk in, like magic.
To test this idea, they constructed a room with the walls, ceiling, and floor made from aluminum panelling. They erected a long copper pole in the center of the room, with small capacitors in the middle. The capacitors find the electric fields and set the electromagnetic frequency of the room. Currents travel up the pole, through the ceiling, down the walls, and back up the pole, generating magnetic fields that circulate around the pole, the researchers explain in the video.
Their simulations showed that they could transmit 1.9 kilowatts of power safely for humans, tested on a computer generated model. No internal organs were fried in the testing of this charging room.
The researchers note that the charging room is scalable: It could be a charging chest where you throw all of your devices at the end of the day, or a warehouse that powers multiple machines at once. It’s easy to imagine the future uses: Wireless charging garages for electric cars, perhaps? Someday we might all be upgrading our doomsday bunkers to never need outlets, or powering our DIY-cyborg asses by walking into charging rooms, no wires required.
[Their safety analysis says nothing about interactions with pace makers or hearing aids.]
Quasistatic Cavity Resonance for Ubiquitous Wireless Power Transfer