MIT's new WiTricity could eliminate power cords, and even batteries

Juggling multiple incompatible batteries and power adapters is one of the major headaches we have to deal with when we carry phones, laptops, digital cameras, and other computing and electronics devices. However, MIT researchers think they've found a way to effectively deal with that problem using a new technology for wirelessly delivering electricity.

MIT logoThe MIT scientists demonstrated this by lighting up a 60-watt light bulb using a power source that was seven feet away, as reported in the June 7 edition of the journal Science. The science behind the technology is called coupled magnetic resonance, and the MIT team has dubbed the technology "WiTricity."

The project is led by MIT professor Marin Soljacic, who woke up in the middle of the night a few years ago to find his cell phone out of power on the kitchen counter.

"It was probably the sixth time that month that I was awakened by my cell phone beeping to let me know that I had forgotten to charge it," Soljacic said. "It occurred to me that it would be so great if the thing took care of its own charging."

Professor Peter Fisher, who is also working on the project, envisions a scenario for laptops to work more efficiently:

"As long as the laptop is in a room equipped with a source of such wireless power, it would charge automatically, without having to be plugged in. In fact, it would not even need a battery to operate inside of such a room."

To read more about WiTricity, take a look at these links:

It's also important to note that a company called PowerCast has developed an alternate form of wireless power that already has FCC approval for commercial use. PowerCast won a CNET Best of CES 2007 award in the Emerging Tech category.

Are you ready to reduce your reliance on power cords and batteries? Which technology do you think has more potential, PowerCast or WiTricity? Join the discussion.


Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.

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