Beyond the horizon, but worth keeping en eye on . . .
US researchers have outlined a relatively simple system that could deliver power to devices such as laptop computers or MP3 players wirelessly.
The concept exploits century-old physics and could work over distances of many metres, the researchers said.
Although the team had not built and tested a system, computer models and mathematics suggest it would work.
“There are so many autonomous devices such as cell phones and laptops that have emerged in the last few years,” said Assistant Professor Marin Soljacic from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and one of the researchers behind the work.
“We started thinking, ‘it would be really convenient if you didn’t have to recharge these things’.
“And because we’re physicists we asked, ‘what kind of physical phenomenon can we use to do this wireless energy transfer?’.”
The answer the team came up with was “resonance”, a phenomenon that causes an object to vibrate when energy of a certain frequency is applied.