Laser System to Offer Wireless Charging Across the Room

Engineers at the University of Washington have reported that they developed long range wireless smartphone charger which operates on laser technology

Wireless charging tech of the kind employed by Apple, Samsung, and other device makers still involves plugging in a charging pad and putting your phone on it; it just means you don’t have to directly attach your phone. The study was published in journal of Association for Computing Machinery on February 21, 2018. The study include detailed mode of operations in Mobile, Wearable, and Ubiquitous Technologies. The new wireless charging technology involves transmitting an invisible narrow laser beam to deliver power to smartphone across the room. This is achieved by mounting a thin power cell to the back of a smartphone, which enables it to absorb power from the laser. Researchers report that this charging is as efficient as plugging charger in smartphone using USB port.

“The advantage to our technique is that it can work at much longer ranges than the near field wireless charging solutions built into phones,” said Vikram Iyer, a graduate student in Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington. “These chargers only work at ranges of a few centimeters. In contrast, our system works at ranges of a few meters or more. We chose lasers for our approach because they provide a focused beam of energy. Doing this with radio waves is much more inefficient because radio waves spread out significantly in space, requiring a very high transmit power to receive enough to charge a phone.”

However, there are some precautions associated with using this technology, as it involves use on infrared lights, which could prove to be harmful. The precautions to be taken include addition of a metal, flat-plate heatsink on the smartphone, which dissipates excess heat from the laser. The system also automatically shuts off the laser if an individual crosses its path. This involves using guard beams, which monitor laser movement and can turns off laser charging immediately if a human body is detected. Furthermore, researchers are working on improving range and form factor of current prototype.

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