Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Power To Be Tether Free

Powercast's no cord solutions are great for any low power device: 1) The Transmitter - plugs into the wall socket and broadcasts safe, low-power radio waves. 2) The Radio Waves - change their frequency as they bounce off objects and walls. 3) Tiny Receivers - in the devices that you have, "hear" frequencies around the original one, capturing up to 70% of the radio signal's energy. The energy is then converted into DC electricity. Image Credit: XPLANE.COM

The Power To Be Tether Free

An answer to a nagging and growing problem ... Here we are building this anytime, anywhere mobile life and every time we turn around ... we have to plug-in.

All of the tools we have that allow us to be a part of the mobility world require that we tether ourselves ... well, our tools, to a wall outlet and wait until we get our full charge of power.

Powercast wants to change (and charge) all of that, and their solution is really quite inventive. It has already received the CES "Best Of Show Award" for emerging technologies and great reviews from CNET.

Excerpts from Business 2.0 Magazine -

Death of the cell phone charger
A Pennsylvania entrepreneur has developed technology that gives you all the battery juice you need directly from the air. Business 2.0 reports.

By Melanie Haiken, Business 2.0 Magazine – April 2007

How much money could you make from a technology that replaces electrical wires? A startup called Powercast, along with the more than 100 companies that have inked agreements with it, is about to start finding out. Powercast and its first major partner, electronics giant Philips, are set to launch their first device powered by electricity broadcast through the air.

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.

Picture your cell phone charging up the second you sit down at your desk, and you start to get a sense of the opportunity. How big can it get? "The sky's the limit," says John Shearer, Powercast's founder and CEO. He estimates shipping "many millions of units" by the end of 2008.
Broadcasting power through the air isn't a new idea. Researchers have experimented with capturing the radiation in radio frequency at high power but had difficulty capturing it at consumer-friendly low power. "You'd have energy bouncing off the walls and arriving in a wide range of voltages," says Zoya Popovic, an electrical engineering professor at the University of Colorado who works on wireless electricity projects for the U.S. military.

That's where Shearer came in. A former physicist based in Pittsburgh, he and his team spent four years poring over wireless electricity research in a lab hidden behind his family's coffee house. He figured much of the energy bouncing off walls could be captured. All you had to do was build a receiver that could act like a radio tuned to many frequencies at once.

"I realized we wanted to grab that static and harness it," Shearer says. "It's all energy."
Powercast says it has signed nondisclosure agreements to develop products with more than 100 companies, including major manufacturers of cell phones, MP3 players, automotive parts, temperature sensors, hearing aids, and medical implants.

The last of those alone could be a multibillion-dollar market: Pacemakers, defibrillators, and the like require surgery to replace dead batteries. But with a built-in Powercast receiver, those batteries could last a lifetime.

"Everyone's looking to cut that last cord," says Alex Slawsby, a consultant at Innosight who specializes in disruptive innovation. "Think of the billion cell phones sold last year. If you could get Powercast into a small percentage of the high-end models, those would be huge numbers."

Video Demonstration provided by CNET (click image) - Image Credit: CNET

Could Powercast's technology also work for larger devices? Perhaps, but not quite yet. Laptop computers, for example, use more than 10 times the wattage of Powercast transmissions.

But industry trends are on Shearer's side: Thanks to less energy-hungry LCD screens and processors, PC power consumption is slowly diminishing. Within five years, Shearer says, laptops will be down to single-digit wattage--making his revenue potential even more electrifying.
Reference Here>>

In Japan, research scientists at the University of Tokyo have come up with a unique material that can transmit electrical energy to nearby devices without the need for direct contact.

This material can be utilized as a table cloth or a wallpaper that would then re-charge devices through the Faraday induction process.

This from Just Chromatography Everything about Chromatography and Analytical Chemistry -

World without wires
01, May - Posted by Chemist as General Science

What would you say if in a few years from now you would not need a power cord to charge your notebook or to deal with those annoying, tangled up cords behind your TV and stereo? Or would you imagine that your PDA or cell phone could be recharged remotely?

I would say it is something rather from a more distant future, but research scientists at the University of Tokyo have come up with a unique material that can transmit electrical energy to nearby devices without the need for direct contact.

The system is based on a well know phenomenon discovered by Faraday in 1831 - electromagnetic induction - when electrical energy can be transmitted without a contact, just like some electric toothbrushes that recharge while sitting in a plastic charger.

The power-transmitting material is a plastic film with imprinted elements:

1.) Japanese Researcher’s knowhow - a contactless position-sensing system that allows to direct power to wherever the appliance sits . It has a two-dimensional grid of copper coils and a matrix of transistors made from the organic molecule pentacene.

2.) Switching mechanism consisting of an arrangement of plastic microelectromechanical system (MEMS) switches, which direct the power to the device.

3.) A second two-dimensional layer of copper coils that transmits the energy.

The sheet is 21×21 cm, 1 mm thick, and weighs 50 g. It contains a grid of 64 position-sensing units and 64 power-transmission units. The sheet is capable of providing 40.5 watts of power with more than 80% efficiency - sufficient to operate a small laptop computer.

Example of power transmission to LED in water – Image Reference: T Sekitani et al, Nat. Mater., DOI: 10.1038/nmat1903

When an electronic device containing a ‘receiving coil’ is next to the sheet, its presence is detected by the positioning coils, and coordinates relayed by the organic transistor circuit. The MEMS switches then direct the power to that point.

A head of research group Takao Sekitani comments:

“Since all the device components are manufactured on plastic films, the system is thin, lightweight and flexible. Therefore it is easy to put the sheet system in the wall, desk, floor - anywhere you can imagine. And because the system is manufactured by printing technologies it is potentially low-cost and it can transmit high power selectively to the position of electronic objects, making transmission loss very small.”
Reference Here>>

1 comment:

powercast technology said...

Here is a good site explaing how it works.