Wireless Power

Is it just me, or is this invention a game changer?

It may sound futuristic, but Powercast’s platform uses nothing more complex than a radio–and is cheap enough for just about any company to incorporate into a product. A transmitter plugs into the wall, and a dime-size receiver (the real innovation, costing about $5 to make) can be embedded into any low-voltage device. The receiver turns radio waves into DC electricity, recharging the device’s battery at a distance of up to 3 feet.

Fewer wires? Fewer proprietary power cables? Fewer batteries? Fewer headaches? OMG. Finally, a piece of technology that nobody will be able to live without.

Actually, even though I’m looking at this link today (March 30th) – the page title is “Powercast’s technology cuts the electric cord – April 1, 2007.” Is this an AFD joke that was published before AFD?

17 thoughts on “Wireless Power”

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  3. I heard about this on a TWIT podcast around CES time and I was simply blown away by the technology. It’s hard to believe that it is even real!

    p.s. Just added you recently on Twitter – I enjoy your tweets! Jinfinite8. My better half is seerysm – also on your list.

    Cheers Mate!

  4. I’ve heard about wireless power I think 2 or 3 months ago on some podcast…but the timing of this seems suspcious.

  5. Business 2.0 has that article in the print magazine as well on the web so it seems unlikely it is an AFD joke.

  6. This sounds a LOT like what Tesla proposed many, many years ago. Except his plan was to provide power to the entire world– for free. (No, I’m not talking about AC, although he did “create” that)

  7. Hmmm… turns radio waves into power.

    So why does it use a special “$5 receiver”?
    Why not just suck power out of all the megawatt AM radio broadcasts
    going on all around us all the time????

    If they start asking for investment money, DUCK and hide your checkbook…

    😉

  8. Chris, this has be an early April Fool joke. Look at the date – April 1st! 🙂 Anyways, not sure it’s possible. If it were real look at how dangerous it would be. Rogue radio frying hillwalkers and stray cats.

  9. I’ve heard of this before too, only it was one of those things where the amount of power generated was too small to be meaningful for most applications. It uses a principle called induction.

    Magnetic induction is widely used for power generation and transmission. Those 15 power bricks under your desk all use induction to modify power levels going to your devices.

    Apparently, RF induction is not unknown, but the company that developed this figured out a way to get meaningful levels from it, plus regulate the current. It’s not impossible.

    BTW, they changed the date on the article to 3/30.

  10. This technology is very real. I was actually in contact with the company for a few months for a mechanical engineering project. Sadly, they are only taking huge orders (>100k) for now.

  11. Before everybody gets all starry-eyed, there are some serious questions that have to be asked:
    1) Radio waves travel outward with spherical wavefronts, unless a directional antenna is used. At 30cm away, a dime sized antenna cannot receive more than 1/10 of 1% of the radiated power from this spherical wave.
    2) If this is used for a 10-watt (delivered at the device) charger, you could imagine how much power would have to be transmitted – way more than 10 watts. This is in the 900MHz ISM band? How many cordless phones is it going to jam? How badly will it desense cellular phones in the 850MHz band?

    I hope the investors asked these same questions…I’m not ready to sign up yet. Magnetic induction is well known and understood, but this has too much smoke and too many mirrors for me…

  12. Jim,

    You are right. But note that they don’t say the antenna is dime sized. They say their receiver circuit (which is basically just a hyperefficient RF to DC converter) is a dime sized. The antenna size would be proportional to the wavelength.

    I calculate 1.5mW at 1meter range with 1W transfer. So, if they are 50-70% efficient, that means 1mW at a meter (which is what they quoted). It also means if I stick a transmitter in a drawer with all my “stuff to be charged”, it’ll be charged overnight. The math works…and it does indeed sound like a game changer.

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