Wireless charging for devices anywhere within a room

February 22, 2017 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Disney Research have developed a new method for wirelessly transmitting power throughout a room – enabling users to charge electronic devices as seamlessly as they now connect to WiFi hotspots, eliminating the need for electrical cords or charging cradles.

The researchers demonstrated their method, called quasistatic cavity resonance (QSCR), inside a specially built 16-by-16-foot room at their lab. They safely generated near-field standing magnetic waves that filled the interior of the room, making it possible to power several cellphones, fans and lights simultaneously.

"This new innovative method will make it possible for electrical power to become as ubiquitous as WiFi," said Alanson Sample, Associate Lab Director and principal research scientist at Disney Research. "This in turn could enable new applications for robots and other small mobile devices by eliminating the need to replace batteries and wires for charging."

"In this work, we've demonstrated room-scale wireless power, but there's no reason we couldn't scale this down to the size of a toy chest or up to the size of a warehouse," said Sample, who leads the lab's Wireless Systems Group.

According to Sample, wireless power transmission is a long-standing technological dream. Celebrated inventor Nikola Tesla famously demonstrated a wireless lighting system in the 1890s and proposed a system for transmitting power long distances to homes and factories, though it never came to fruition. Today, most wireless power transmission occurs over very short distances, typically involving charging stands or pads.