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Sony Prototype Sends Electricity Through the Air

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the efficiency-is-overrated dept.

Power 240

itwbennett writes "Sony announced Friday that it has developed a prototype power system based on magnetic resonance that can send 'a conventional 100 volt electricity supply over a distance of 50 centimeters to power a 22-inch LCD television.' Unfortunately, Sony's prototype wasted 1/5 of the power fed into it and additional losses 'occurred in circuitry connected to the secondary coil so the original 80 watts of power was cut by roughly a quarter to 60 watts once it had made its way through the system.'"

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240 comments

It's a start (3, Funny)

Bruiser80 (1179083) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621167)

But if they can't improve on 50cm, I'm just getting a 2ft extension cord for fixed items.

(sorry for mixing units)

Re:It's a start (5, Funny)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621297)

I don't know, if they could make it out to 1000 barleycorns or even several rods, i'd buy a hogshead of them next fortnight.

Japanese IQ and European IQ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29621319)

Reading the original article [itworld.com] causes us to think: Why have the Europeans (including ethnic Jews) and the Japanese accomplished so many breakthroughs in technology?

Certainly, the Europeans dominate the winners of Noble Prizes in science.

Germans invented the jet aircraft, the guided missile, the computer, calculus, etc. The English invented calculus. The French developed the metric system. Also, the Japanese have done quite well. They invented the blue light-emitting diode, hybrid engines for cars, process technologies for cost effectively producing large LCD screens, etc.

The one group that is missing from this arena of technical accomplishments is Africans and African-Americans. Why are they absent?

We know that African IQ is small than Japanese/European IQ by about 20 points. Can this large difference in IQ explain the gross failure of all societies dominated by Africans?

Re:Japanese IQ and European IQ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29621811)

LOL. I bet you think you invented black butt plugs right? Those are just the big black cocks of people such as Charles Drew and Elijah McCoy. Enjoy it pasty boy.

Re:It's a start (1)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621877)

But if they can't improve on 50cm, I'm just getting a 2ft extension cord for fixed items. (sorry for mixing units)

You joke, but my bicycle has an Italian bottom bracket [wikipedia.org] that is officially defined as 36mm x 24 threads per inch. *ack*.

can we get this tagged (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29621187)

globalwarming please?

seriously, wasting 1/5th of power just so you don't have to install some fucking wiring is just plain wrong. that's ignoring the fact that you will probably want to wire it up through hdmi anyway.

cocksuckers. one side of the tech business is actively thinking "hmmm fossil fuels will be running out, WTF are we gonna do" whilst the other side goes "WOOOOOOOOOO! Wireless power! PARTY ON!"

Re:can we get this tagged (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29621373)

I'm appalled. This "prototype" isn't already perfected technology and they had the gall to send out a press release! They should just chunk the idea out the window! And please people, please stop creating this technologizma stuff because it's destroying Mother Earth.

Re:can we get this tagged (5, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621393)

75% efficiency is perfectly acceptable for low power devices. Making and shipping alkaline batteries repeatedly, or relying on rechargeable NiMH batteries that often leak more energy than gets used in the device, is certainly far more wasteful. So using this sort of tech to power those kinds of devices (clocks, smoke alarms, stick-on lights, etc) sounds quite reasonable. I'd certainly buy a $20 device that meant I never had to change a smoke alarm or clock battery again. In fact, 75% efficiency means it'd probably be a about breakeven powering a NiMH Roomba or Scooba versus charging their packs (in addition to leaking, NiMH isn't a very efficient charger). So you could have your home robotics never leak charge or have to waste energy charging, and never have battery packs need to be replaced, as well as the obvious "no limit on how long they can run for before needing to go back to dock".

They're going to have to significantly improve on the range, though. 1 1/2 feet isn't much at all.

Another interesting possibility would be to have a pocket-sized device powered by a li-ion battery pack. Carry it on your person and all of your portable gismos -- cameras, flashlights, cell phones, etc -- stay charged. When you get back home or to your hotel room, you plug it in to charge it. They wouldn't need as much range improvement, but they would need to make it a lot smaller than 40cm across (unless it'd be something you carry in a backpack).

Certainly you don't want 75% efficiency running TVs or charging electric cars (unless you can do it on the road, for long trip range extending -- but then you'd need some *serious* range!). But for battery-powered devices, that's fine.

Re:can we get this tagged (4, Insightful)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621509)

I'd certainly buy a $20 device that meant I never had to change a smoke alarm or clock battery again.

What happens when the power goes out? Does the $20 dollar device have a battery?

Re:can we get this tagged (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621535)

So using this sort of tech to power those kinds of devices (clocks, smoke alarms, stick-on lights, etc) sounds quite reasonable.

Smoke alarms have to use wires: it's how they avoid battery usage altogether (except as backup), and connect to each other so they all alarm at the same time. Every new house is required to be wired for smoke detectors.

Honestly, I can only think of one application where not needing a power cord for a 50cm distance is all that helpful: a "charging pad" to recharge your mobile devices by just setting it on the pad, without having to mess with wires and connectors. However, I don't think this is likely to happen for a long, long time: mobile phone makers make a lot of money by charging out the ass for replacement chargers, which use proprietary connectors so you can't use some other charger.

Re:can we get this tagged (2, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621653)

Every new house is required to be wired for smoke detectors.

Perhaps every new house, but mine certainly isn't. I have to change the 9-volts regularly.

Honestly, I can only think of one application where not needing a power cord for a 50cm distance is all that helpful:

Take a walk through your house some time, and look at every last little gadget in the house, and count how many batteries (replaceable or rechargeable, embedded or removable) you find. I bet you'll be surprised.

a "charging pad" to recharge your mobile devices by just setting it on the pad, without having to mess with wires and connectors. However, I don't think this is likely to happen for a long, long time

Huh? That's [neowin.net] already [siftwire.com] here [slipperybrick.com]. And inductive charging has been used in electric toothbrushes for ages. The difference for this is that you actually have range.

Re:can we get this tagged (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621855)

Take a walk through your house some time, and look at every last little gadget in the house, and count how many batteries (replaceable or rechargeable, embedded or removable) you find. I bet you'll be surprised.

Yes, that's the application I named: recharging mobile devices without messing with cords with proprietary. This Sony thing doesn't even appear to be aimed at that, and as you showed, the technology to do that is already here, even though no one wants to build it in.

Huh? That's already here. And inductive charging has been used in electric toothbrushes for ages. The difference for this is that you actually have range.

Ok, so it's here, but only as a crappy add-on (except for toothbrushes, where exposed connectors aren't a good idea). It's never going to be built in for the reason I stated earlier.

Having this add-on for your iPhone means you can no longer plug it into a dock to play music or whatever. You'd have to go through the trouble of removing this charging skin thing. Depending on how often you use a dock, it might be more trouble than it's worth to get this wireless charging skin.

Re:can we get this tagged (1)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621721)

Considering this is from Sony, I can immediately think of a use: Wireless controllers. My roommate has a 360, and we have to recharge the batteries in the controllers CONSTANTLY. If just being close to the system was enough to charge the controlllers, it would be very useful.

Re:can we get this tagged (1)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621753)

Honestly, I can only think of one application where not needing a power cord for a 50cm distance is all that helpful

What about if the closest available outlet is on the other side of a wall from where you need the device?

Re:can we get this tagged (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621819)

>>>75% efficiency is perfectly acceptable for low power devices.

Then how come the EU and U.S. are banning incandescent bulbs? The latest prototypes using laser-carved filaments operate at just 20 watts, and make the same light as a 15 watt compact fluorescent light. So that's what? 75% efficiency? And yet this is considered unacceptable by the politicians.

I say, if the bulbs are banned for inefficiency, then so too should these over-the-air power transmissions (for the same reason).

Japanese IQ and European IQ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29621413)

Reading the original article [itworld.com] causes us to think: Why have the Europeans (including ethnic Jews) and the Japanese accomplished so many breakthroughs in technology?

Certainly, the Europeans dominate the winners of Noble Prizes in science.

Germans invented the jet aircraft, the guided missile, the computer, calculus, etc. The English invented calculus. The French developed the metric system. Also, the Japanese have done quite well. They invented the blue light-emitting diode, hybrid engines for cars, process technologies for cost effectively producing large LCD screens, etc.

The one group that is missing from this arena of technical accomplishments is Africans and African-Americans. Why are they absent?

We know that African IQ is small than Japanese/European IQ by about 20 points. Can this large difference in IQ explain the gross failure of all societies dominated by Africans?

Re:Japanese IQ and European IQ (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621603)

Oh please, not this tripe again.

For one thing, your invention list is severely flawed. Many things which you say were invented by one group were actually invented by someone else and then developed or refined by another. The Japanese didn't invent hybrids; locomotive and heavy construction equipment makers have been using diesel-electric powertrains for decades.

You're also forgetting the Arabs and algebra and various other things (granted, this was back around 1000 AD, not recently when they've been too busy fighting with each other and everyone else to do anything productive).

A quick google search for "african inventions" yields the following website:
http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/bhistory/inventors/ [scholastic.com]

Did you know the carbon filament in light bulbs was invented by an African-American?
Or that peanut butter was invented by famous African-American George Washington Carver?
Garrett Morgan invented the gas mask and the first traffic signal.
Otis Boykin invented the pacemaker, among other electronic devices.
And Lonnie G. Johnson invented the all-important Super Soaker.

The reasons for the African continent's problems are explained in Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs and Steel", and has a lot to do with geography making agriculture much easier in Europe than in Africa, causing Europe to develop faster technologically.

What have you invented? Probably nothing.

Re:Japanese IQ and European IQ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29621843)

Just two hints: population size and literacy rate.

Re:can we get this tagged (4, Insightful)

linguizic (806996) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621473)

one side of the tech business is actively thinking "hmmm fossil fuels will be running out, WTF are we gonna do" whilst the other side goes "WOOOOOOOOOO! Wireless power! PARTY ON!"

Don't be a doofus, this is a prototype. It's not like they're releasing it for mass consumption. Besides, who says we can't have wireless green electricity. The only thing NOT green about this is where the electricity comes from. Who gives a shit if it wastes 1/5th of the power if all that power comes from solar panels. There are plenty of nasty false dichotomies in the public sphere (nature/nurture, democrat/republican) we don't need another one. Don't be a doofus.

Re:can we get this tagged (0, Offtopic)

acid06 (917409) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621493)

WOOOOOOOOOO! Wireless power! PARTY ON!

Now, may I have a device to wirelessly supply me with some more karma to burn?

Re:can we get this tagged (5, Insightful)

smallfries (601545) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621539)

Indeed, just because this early prototype has 75% efficiency we must assume that the maximum that can ever be achieved. Best to just stop investigating it instead of working on improving the range and efficiency. After all scientific progress has advanced quite far enough hasn't it?

God forbid that we improve this technology and use it to replace other sources of loss to reduce energy consumption! After all we are rapidly moving towards an electric infrastructure for vehicles, and they are always this close to the road. Imagine just how bad it would be for global warming if we replaced batteries (and their associated losses) with this technology. Evil scientists.

Re:can we get this tagged (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621541)

Wireless power has a responsible niche: cell phones, mp3 players, laptop etc. My TV doesnt need wireless power. It never moves and it has tons of other cables.

The palm pre already support wireless power. I picture a pad like the touchstone, but bigger, and which can charge all my little toys just by tossing them on there. No fuss.

Re:can we get this tagged (2, Insightful)

plague911 (1292006) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621581)

Do you have any idea how much power is used to actually produce that few inches of wire? Doubtfull as it may be but systems like this may end up saving energy in the future. Even if they are not 100% energy efficient. Imagine how much money/energy would be saved if you never had to wire a house in the first place. Or if we could actualy get a wireless transmission system. Those telephone polls don't grow on trees.... Get a clue

Wasted 1/5 of energy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29621193)

Where does that 'wasted' energy go?

Re:Wasted 1/5 of energy? (1)

Sinning (1433953) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621273)

I'd assume this device either doubles as a space heater or an x-ray machine.

Re:Wasted 1/5 of energy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29621439)

Maybe it's an amateur radio station, or a room-wide microwave oven?

Re:Wasted 1/5 of energy? (5, Informative)

nhytefall (1415959) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621517)

The wasted energy is most likely dissipated as high frequency RF energy. In most primary/secondary coil designs (for the less enlightened... think Tesla coil), the bulk (80-90%) of "lost" energy is dissipated as high frequency RF. The rest is dissipated as heat and light.

Not well trained (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621199)

If they were trained better, they could throw the power supply over a larger distance than merely 50 centimeters.

video source? (3, Insightful)

whizzard (177251) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621215)

If you still need a cable to connect your video sources, what's the point?

Re:video source? (3, Insightful)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621257)

Re:video source? (4, Funny)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621289)

I here someone once figured out a way to send signals from a TV station to a TV set without wires. Crazy I know, but true.

Re:video source? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621621)

Yes, but it's only commercial-filled crap beamed from a broadcaster, which doesn't allow you to pause, rewind, store programs, choose exactly what movie you want to watch and when, etc. And due to FCC rules, you're not allowed to transmit your own video on public channels (since it would inevitably interfere with other people doing the same thing).

Re:video source? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621337)

If you still need a cable to connect your video sources, what's the point?

I'm pretty sure prototypes (and maybe one or two production implementations) of systems which can transmit analog and digital streams (including, in either form, audio+video streams) between points without cables have existed for a while.

Re:video source? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621645)

These things will probably be banned if they become technically workable and appear on the market. Remember, the main reason to use such a thing would be to connect your Blu-Ray player to your 52" flat-screen TV without having to run cables through the walls. But doing this wirelessly would constitute public distribution of this copyrighted content, which is illegal as the FCC notice says at the beginning of the movie, so the studios will probably have this technology banned.

Re:video source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29621343)

They'll be coming out with a wireless video source soon, but due to losses, only red and green will be displayed.

Re:video source? (1)

gbarules2999 (1440265) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621583)

It's almost time for endlessly looping Christmas movies to be played nonstop on TV anyway; no one will notice a difference.

One Word (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29621221)

Tesla.

I'll let you nerds do the appropriate search to find more info.

Have a Biden_Obama_Pelosi_Reid_Schumer_Clinton-free weekend.

Yours In Petrograd,
K.T.

Basic physics/electronics fail? (2, Interesting)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621235)

Why is anyone wasting any time on useless technology like this? Is it based on consumer demand? If so then consumers need some basic physics and electronics lessons. This is not Star Trek, people, we can't "beam" your power to you via subspace, the inverse-square law fully applies, this is not ever going to be efficient or practical! Electrically powered things require power cords, get over it!

Re:Basic physics/electronics fail? (1)

FunPika (1551249) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621305)

WhyElectrically powered things require power cords

Or batteries.

Re:Basic physics/electronics fail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29621417)

Or S2 organs.

Re:Basic physics/electronics fail? (1)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621327)

fortunately we have things like parabolic dishes to focus energy so it's not distributed in every direction. Just don't walk between the dishes....

Re:Basic physics/electronics fail? (2, Insightful)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621361)

Lets stop innovation entirely and let technology sit and stagnate for a few hundred years.
It's a good thing you showed us the error of our ways or we might have advanced by leaps and bounds.

Re:Basic physics/electronics fail? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621729)

There's lots of places where technological advances would not only be very useful, but maybe even necessary for the continued existence of our civilization: biotech and agriculture to make more food for our geometrically-increasing population and cure diseases, newer transportation technology, etc.

Wireless power (at least not one with such a limited range) is not something that has any serious uses. It might make it easier to recharge your cellphone, but please don't try to argue that this is some critical capability that will change the world. Plugging in a recharging cord isn't that hard.

Improve the efficiency and range a few orders of magnitude and you might have something really useful. But I don't think it's going to happen, at least not with magnetic resonance, due to the fundamental laws of physics. Basically, this sounds like a giant mutual inductor (like a transformer, but without the iron core to conduct magnetic flux between the two sets of windings) with the two sides separated by a lot of air space. This requires big coils (which limit your applications, since no one wants a 2-foot-square cellphone), and without a way of conducting the flux, it's never going to have good efficiency like a transformer.

Re:Basic physics/electronics fail? (1)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621831)

If you honestly see this as only being used for charging cellphones you are seriously blind.
This sort of technology if expanded upon has a great number of possible uses, some that may even save lives.

Re:Basic physics/electronics fail? (1)

Alcimedes (398213) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621377)

Actually, I just wanted a demonstration on power through the air that was totally safe. (not the Sony method)

http://www.videosift.com/video/Wireless-Electricity-Demonstration-TED-Talk [videosift.com]

Was a demo by TED talk.

They actually demo it with a TV, and cell phone application. Uses high frequency vibrations to generate electricity with magnetic waves.

Super bad ass. Way more interesting that this crap.

Re:Basic physics/electronics fail? (1)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621383)

Ok, so the inverse square law applies. However, say you can just have a little power-beaming antennae under your desk and that's all it takes for your computer monitor, your cell phone, your main box, your laptop, your desk lamp, your paper shredder, your space heater, blah, blah, blah to receive power with no cords at all.

And all at a distance of less than 10 feet. So the inverse square law applies, but several of the most convenient, life-simplifying uses of the product aren't at long range: they're at extremely short ranges.

Re:Basic physics/electronics fail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29621579)

However, say you can just have a little power-beaming antennae under your desk and that's all it takes for your computer monitor, your cell phone, your main box, your laptop, your desk lamp, your paper shredder, your space heater, blah, blah, blah to receive power with no cords at all.

I wouldn't want my nutsack, which would have to share space under my desk with this power transmitter, to get uncomfortably overheated and loose from basking in leaking energy fields. Given a choice between dealing with good old power cords vs. crinkly tinfoil boxer shorts, I think I'll stick with the former.

Re:Basic physics/electronics fail? (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621453)

To put it in programming terms, yes, the losses are O(N^2). But that says nothing about lower-order factors.

The whole point of resonant coupling are that you greatly extend the distance at which your losses occur. They still fall off by the same scale, but at a much greater distance. Think of it akin to broadcasting microwaves with a non-directional antenna versus a parabolic dish. Only in this case, you don't have to "aim".

Re:Basic physics/electronics fail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29621479)

The inverse square law only applies to isotropic sources - sources such as lasers still decay but that's more a focusing issue.

There is no physical reason why you can't beam power through a laser outside the visible spectrum (microwave or x-ray). Yes, the laser will be attenuated, but there is no physical reason why you can't use such a system to dispense with wires.

That's not how it was! (1)

Schickeneder (1454639) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621549)

Umm I'm sorry, but when in Star Trek did they "beam" as a means of power transmission. Give me an episode reference or it didn't happen.

There will be consumer demand. Marketing departments come up with clever ways of making people think they NEED the new technology. Honestly how many people can actually tell the difference between RGB, YPbPr component and HDMI? or 6 HDMI ports in one TV, because more is better.

Re:Basic physics/electronics fail? (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621557)

Why is anyone wasting any time on useless technology like this? Is it based on consumer demand? If so then consumers need some basic physics and electronics lessons. This is not Star Trek, people, we can't "beam" your [data] to you via subspace, the inverse-square law fully applies, this is not ever going to be efficient or practical! [communication] things require [phone] cords, get over it!

You'd be ranting about horseless carriages if you were living a hundred years ago.

Re:Basic physics/electronics fail? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621667)

Actually, from what I remember of Star Trek, there was no wireless power there, either. Phasers, communicators, etc., all were powered by some kind of battery. That's why phasers could be set to overload, and explode, or ran out of power occasionally. "Subspace" was only useful for transmitting communications FTL, not power.

Re:Basic physics/electronics fail? (2, Interesting)

wronski (821189) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621725)

err... its only inverse-square if the energy is unfocused. Since we are talking about a *beam*, this is clearly not the case. The parallel is not exact, but we have known how to transmit EM radiation directionally for decades (what do you think all those parabolic dishes are for?), thereby avoiding inverse-square attenuation; the EM energy is 'beamed' to a receiving antenna, where it induces a current and hence transmits energy. In this case, the trick is constructing a primary coil such that most of the magnetic flux lines that cross it also cross a secondary coil (i.e., it preserves most of the magnectic flux). A AC current on the primary will induce a current in the secondary, and the energy efficiency will be the ratio between the magnectic flux in both coils. Interestingly, if you apply a DC current to one of these coils, you will end up with a very focused electromagnet. You could use it to manipulate a small permanent magnet far away from the coil (on the order of the AC transmission distance), for instance. This sort of remote, non invasive manipulation must have tons of application, from surgical (e.g., guiding a probe to a clogged artery), to military (defusing bombs), to whatever (safecracking anyone?) Anyway, very cool stuff.

Only through Air? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29621239)

I think this would be really neat if it wasn't limited to only sending electricity through air. Does anyone know what prevents this from working in a vacuum or through solid objects. Is the oxygen being magnetized or something?

Standard Old News Alert (1)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621251)

Once again, slashdot catching up with old news and making one company in the lagging position look like the frontrunner of a new technology. Fast Company, among other places, have already published on the several research teams who've had operational prototypes for at least a year, and with comparable benefits, challenges, and ineffeciencies to the unit described in this summary.

See "Wireless Electricity Is Here, Seriously", Fast Company, Jan. 2009.
http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/132/brilliant.html [fastcompany.com]

One thing we know for sure (5, Funny)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621269)

If this is a Sony technology, you better believe the electricity is going to be in some kind of proprietary format that requires you to purchase special electrons at a 30% premium over industry standard.

Unfortunately? That's really good efficiency (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29621283)

This is impressive efficiency.

50cm is still too short though, so let's see if the efficiency remains workable as distance increases (square law).

Re:Unfortunately? That's really good efficiency (1)

jeffstar (134407) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621397)

that is what i thought too. 80% efficient! Its not like wires are 100% efficient.

I'm more interested in this type of technology for charging all the various devices with batteries without having to have the right assortment of cables and adapters.

Re:Unfortunately? That's really good efficiency (4, Insightful)

Chuckstar (799005) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621497)

You'd be hard pressed to measure the line loss of a standard copper wire over two feet. It's probably like 99% efficient, if not higher.

Re:Unfortunately? That's really good efficiency (4, Informative)

evanbd (210358) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621665)

A typical lightweight power cord is 16 AWG. 60 Watts (assuming good power factor correction) is 0.5 A. 16 AWG wire is ~ 4 mOhm/ft. So 4 ft of wire (2 ft cord, supply and return) is 16 mOhm. That means you're losing 8 mV of your supply voltage, or 4 mW of power. That's about 99.993% efficient.

You have to get significantly longer extension cord and put a lot more current through it before the power loss is relevant. Even if you used a 12 ft cord, and drew a rather significant 4A, that's still only 1.5W out of 480, or 99.7% efficient. And most extension cords are 14 AWG or thicker.

Re:Unfortunately? That's really good efficiency (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621873)

This is impressive efficiency.

50cm is still too short though, so let's see if the efficiency remains workable as distance increases (square law).

IDK, according to a square law you could just move it farther away from the source to get more power

:-P

Energy Star? (1)

buback (144189) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621285)

A TV is a stationary device. Why would you need wireless power for anything other than cosmetics? Wouldn't it just be better to put an outlet behind your wall mounting bracket?

I can see this in a parking spaces for electric cars, so you don't have cables running all over the parking lot of a mall. Or for small devices that don't need much power but would be a pain to power with batteries, like LED track lighting or security webcams or smoke detectors.

Big, rarely moved devices don't sound practical. after all, if your going to use this for a TV, why not a microwave or a fridge?

Re:Energy Star? (1)

mjihad (686196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621349)

A TV is a stationary device.

But cellphones, laptops, PDAs and vibrators aren't. They just demo'ed it with a TV because while the others have batteries but TVs typically don't.

Erm... (1)

Wienaren (714122) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621309)

DNRTFA, but what happens if someone steps into the "beam"? BBQ anyone?

Re:Erm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29621635)

Attention Attention do not step into the path of the beam. To do so would cause a zzzxzxzxz~@?>,,,,

when I was five, I received a crystal radio kit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29621355)

... it turns out that power can be transmitted wirelessly over long distances in a sufficiently efficient manner to power useful electronics!

60 Watts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29621365)

Finally! I can power my pesky lightbulbs without having to physically wire them! Thanks Sony!

Re:60 Watts? (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621521)

Only if your lights are within 2 feet of an outlet.
But, if you did this with all the overhead lights you have in you house (guessing around 12), you could save up to 24 inches of copper wiring, with only a 25% increase in your power needs for those lights.

So they may be on Tesla's trail. And...? (4, Interesting)

ReallyEvilCanine (991886) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621423)

Tesla was working on wireless electricity transmission but he was also working on a load of other stuff, all while baking his brain with "health-giving" X-rays. And while Tesla both claimed to have succeeded in wireless transmission and others are purported to have witnessed it, he never once made a claim as to the efficiency which, based on the efficiency of a lot of his other inventions (70% [RMS] for AC, >80% for a coil) was never higher than what Sony's come up with here.

Re:So they may be on Tesla's trail. And...? (1)

hydromike2 (1457879) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621755)

in any case it not bad for one guy who was doing wireless power(essentially the father of it among other things) over a hundred years ago with no such thing as a semiconductor versus a multi billion dollar company today...

What would it do to my hand ... (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621427)

if I placed it between the 2 units ? I'm not sure that I like the sound of that. Got kids, how long would they survive before being cooked ?

Re:What would it do to my hand ... (2, Insightful)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621677)

nothing, it uses magnetic resonance, like an MRI machine. Are your hands magnetic?

Nothing compared to Duracell's new technology (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29621485)

Duracell has invested millions of dollars in wireless power transmitters [duracell.com]. These transmitters are about two and a half inches long (6.33 centimeters). One of the transmitters can put out 10 watt-hours, while another type can be daisy-chained to easily produce over 100 volts.

They're constantly improving the technology; Units are usually at least 75%-85% efficient. And they are not affected by the inverse-square law. It's pretty interesting stuff.

stupid idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29621527)

great way to increase your carbon footprint, just to save 2 bucks for an extension cord!! BB

only 1/5 loss wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29621675)

That is excellent for wireless power considering my Tesla Coil has more than a 70% loss

This would be great (4, Interesting)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621683)

Forget the Sony jokes for a minute. I can think of a great use for this technology : recharging smartphones!

Essentially, if they can miniaturize the receiver coils sufficiently enough, you could pack them so that they are integrated inside the batteries used in a smartphone. (yes, yes, it is somewhat inconvenient to swap the battery in certain Apple phones...)

Imagine the possibilities. You could have one of these transmitters in your car, plugged into the cigarette lighter and stuck between the driver's seat and the cupholders. Another could be on top of your nightstand in your bedroom, or wherever you tend to toss your keys, wallet, and phone at the end of the day. A third one would be in your office on your desk.

If the range is enough (100 centimeters or so) your phone would get recharged while it's still in your pocket! You'd never have to remember to plug it in, and you would be able to use the various power sucking features (games, turn by turn GPS, etc) all you wanted and would almost never run out of battery. It would neatly solve the battery problems with the current generation of smart-phones without having to make the phones bulkier or heavier.

Problems :

1. The receiver coil might take up too much space inside the phone.
2. The range might not be 100 centimeters due to various scaling laws
3. The electromagnetic charging fields might cause biological tissue damage, making it dangerous to use while in your pocket. It might interfere with pacemakers.
4. The fields might wipe credit cards or interfere with electronics in your car or office.

But if these problems aren't that bad, or can be avoided somehow, it would be great!

Great! Only they're 110 years late (4, Informative)

Faulkner39 (955290) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621703)

Nikola Tesla [wikipedia.org] invented wireless electricity transfer at the turn of the 20th (yes, 20th) century. He was trying to prototype it by constructing what was called the Wardenclyffe Tower [wikipedia.org]. Of course, everyone during that time thought he was a nut and the funding ran out.

Tesla is a candidate for the title of "smartest person who ever lived," and without him we probably would not have alternating current, which probably means we would get zapped much more often from our PCs (or "PMFs", i.e. Personal MainFrames). Now, considering the way society neglects its heroes of innovation, just watch Sony finish this and claim to have brought "wireless power" to the world, without ever having mentioned Tesla. "Oh yeah, him? Well we figured this out on our own. We just read a lot of these old books on magnetic resonance and pieced it all together. So smart is we!"

Whats the difference with Witricity (1)

intiha (1646093) | more than 4 years ago | (#29621801)

So I am not sure what the difference is between Sony's technology and Witricity (http://www.witricity.com/). To refresh, these were guys at MIT who discovered that magnetic resonance, instead of induction (used in toothbrush etc), can be used for quite efficient short distance power conversion. They quote getting > 90% at 1m through their system. This has also been demo-ed at TED and many other places. The question is, wasnt their technology (witricity) patented? If so, how did sony get to demo something so similar? if not, it would be interesting to know the difference.
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