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September 16, 2008

Pulling the Plug... Was Tesla Right?

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PlugPull_XSmall What if you could simply lay your cell phone and Bluetooth headset on a charger plate and charge it up without wires.  You may very well be doing just that very soon... Now imagine those chargers are everywhere!

The whole idea of powering something without wires goes as far back as Nikola Tesla circa 1891.  His ideas of providing wireless power to equipment located anywhere was a bit "out there", but he had the right idea.  He even made comments that someday, "our machinery will be driven by a power obtainable at any point of the universe."  That brings to mind thoughts of zero point fluctuations and such.  However, I’m diverging... today, my wife has an iPhone and I have a Blackberry - both devices lack a zero-point energy generator, but they do have batteries.  Both devices have good run times, but we always need to plug them in at night or risk running low on power during the day.  This also includes recharging our Bluetooth ear buds...

A new technology called Vertical Fountain Flux inductive charging is about to change the way we charge our mobile devices.  Typical inductive chargers use a high power magnetic flux to pass energy to a device such as a pacemaker (located inside your chest) and charge the batteries.  This type of charging is fairly efficient at close proximity, but can also damage hard drives or erase the magnetic strips on credit cards.

A company called Convenient Power has created technology based on VFF techniques which localize the magnetic field so it exists only between the device under charge and the charger (not everywhere).  This is highly important for magnetic media or other magnetic sensitive devices that are nearby. It appears that the technology is independent of orientation and is capable of charging 20+ watt devices making it fairly universal for most portable equipment.

Now imagine a solar powered VFF charger platform... when nothing is on the top of the surface, solar cells collect ambient light from the house or office and charge onboard batteries or super-capacitors (or a combination of both).  When you return your mobile device for charging, it transfers the energy stored in the platform and charges the device’s batteries.  How cool would that be? A charging station that can be located anywhere there is ambient light and can charge your mobile device without plugging it in... I want one!

I can imagine these types of chargers built into places you visit everyday - for example your car.  I’d love to simply lay my phone down in the console and have it charge up automatically while I drive to work.  Once I arrive I could lay my phone on another charger sitting in my office which was busy charging its own batteries while I was away.  I could finally cut the cord that ties me to wall power.  And as mentioned on Convenient Power’s website, a formal standard for devices to recognize the chargers and use the power would make charging as universal as cellular networks.  No more looking for a compatible charger - they’d be everywhere! 

So let’s get rid of that last meter of power cable and have free charging for all... just like Wi-Fi, maybe there’ll be a little sticker on the window of your favorite coffee establishment that reads, "Free Wi-Po"... just a thought.  Till next time...


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It looks like Duracell (MyGrid) and Powermat also recently released products for this. They're not everywhere yet, but they're certainly on a lot of billboards here in San Francisco!


Very interesting post. This 'wireless electricity' if it became reality, could have major implications to human and other life forms health. I mean we would be exposed to heaps more electromagnetic rediation.


My two year old wireless phone at home already has wireless charging. It's waterproof and thus, is totally sealed. To recharge, the phone is placed inside a plastic holder (the holder is plugged in). There are no electrical contacts between the holder and the phone.

RFIDs and certain specialized IC that require high voltage separation also receive their power wirelessly. So it's certainly a concept that's already in practice.

Zhou LIng

Now I am working on a universal mobile power supply based on a buck-boost circuit (up to 10A out current)designed by my self to handle all my mobile devices indoor and outdoor ...

Chris Gammell

I keep seeing references to Tesla and I am continually amazed at what that guy figured out with the equipment and even the formulas he had available to him. As wireless power gets closer to commercial deployment I think we'll hear even more about him. Personally? I can't wait to not need 5 different chargers or needing to throw out a charger with an old cell phone I recycle.

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