Wireless charging is like the Holy Grail of gadgets these days. Imagine never having to think about battery ever again as your smartphone is always connected to power. A recent breakthrough is making this a reality.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has been working on a way to beam power wirelessly from solar panels in space as part of its Space Solar Power Systems (SSPS) project.
The idea is to get pure solar energy without the worry of clouds or atmosphere hindering absorption. The SSPS has made big steps towards that by transferring power over a 55-metre distance.
Scientists were able to transmit 1.8 kilowatts of power over a 55-metre distance without wires – this is about enough to power a kettle. It did so by converting electrical signals to microwaves, transmitting them, then converting them back to electrons at the receiving end to utilise the power.
A JAXA spokesman said: "This was the first time anyone has managed to send a high output of nearly two kilowatts of electric power via microwaves to a small target, using a delicate directivity control device."
uBeam is a company that has announced wireless charging for mobiles which will use 5mm metal plates to move power in a room. Just how much power it can transmit or how well it works isn't clear yet but this is expected to be available in the next year or so.
While progress is being made in long distance wireless power transmission the SPSS doesn't expect to see it applied on an international scale until 2040.