WiTricity: World Without Wires

People spend their lifetime in plugging things. Be it either laptop chargers or television sets or mobiles. But guess what? That’s all about to change!

There is no doubt that we humans have adored electricity since its invention. We love it so much that we cannot imagine a world without electricity. Thousands of billions of money spent in setting up power stations and wires carrying electricity from where it is generated to individuals’ homes and offices.

We love batteries too! A device that gives us power for a while before it ends up in the garbage. But then every invention has two sides, like-wise it does have a negative aspect too. Wires and batteries are awful in their own way. Just think about it, when overhead wires get damaged in rough weather, can claim a human life. Also, getting tangled in wires below our computer desk is pathetic. In the case of batteries, 40 billion batteries are manufactured every year and end up in the junkyard when their work is done, being a harmful cause for the environment.

Now imagine this, what if there is an alternative to the electricity, a technology that could be built on something that expect us not to plug wires into anything ever again. The wireless electricity (WiTricity) is the next big thing in the human history.

Nikola Tesla was the first person who had the vision of this technology. As a great engineer and inventor, he devoted his whole life to work with electricity. But it was an MIT professor who made Tesla’s vision possible for the first time on his third sleepless night.

Marin Soljačić, MIT Professor stood in his pyjamas looking at his phone with frustration. It was the 6th time in that month when he was woken up by the sound of his phone warning him that the battery was critical. Luckily for us, in those moments a thought came to him. “Well, there is electricity wired through my house. Why not the phone should take care of its own charging.” This thought was an invention itself. But it was not that easy as it said. Though, it was difficult to make possible, Soljačić had started working on a phenomenon which would turn it into reality.

Soljačić with a group of MIT physicists powered a light bulb of about 60W from a distance of two meters and more importantly ‘wirelessly.’ It was 50% efficient that is still a thousand times more efficient than what a battery would be to perform the same task. The concept behind the impossible was called a resonant energy transfer.

One of the coils was connected to an AC power supply having a resonant source, in this experiment. The remaining coil that had a resonant capture device was connected to a 60W light bulb. Both the coils were suspended in the air by a nylon thread at a distance ranging from a few centimeters to 2.5 meters. And to everyone’s surprise, the power supply was able to light the bulb without any wire connected in between.

So what is resonance?

Two objects are said to be in resonance when they vibrate at the same frequency. And the resultant frequency at which they vibrate is called resonating frequency. However, the energy can be transferred between two resonating objects at some distance.

How the technology works?

It has a coil with a capacitor attached to it. When the coil resonates, it pulses at a resonating current frequency which is fairly high and when a power capture coil is brought close to the source such that it only works at the same frequency, the magnetic field induces a current in the capture coil and a magnetic field around it. The magnetic fields of these two coils couple tightly and they transfer energy efficiently.

What are the benefits?

This non-radioactive power transfer purely works on magnetic fields and is safe in nature. It’s almost equal to the earth’s magnetic field. When compared to wired connectors, it reduces the cost. It would be actually convenient in a day to day life for charging everyday electronics. Also, it is a very safe way of power transfer. Whatever the job nature is, no matter if it is difficult, dirty or dangerous, wireless power will deliver reliable and sustainable power.

What is the future of WiTricity?

We are looking forward to the world in which wireless power is an integrated part of everyday life. WiTricity is still a very novel concept and in under development phase, but it holds a great promise for the future and a wide range of applications where it can be used. It has been tested efficiently from household appliances to industrial applications. We will be able to charge smartphones wirelessly and even will be able to watch TV WIRELESSLY.

Let’s just imagine a world when you walk into your room and your desktop turns on automatically, a wireless home where you place your lamp anywhere and it lights up or even your phone charging while it’s still in your pocket. A world without wires will be here soon. The idea itself is REVOLUTIONARY!

  • Abhijeet Parade