OK -- so how about beaming power terrestrially? Same idea: Generate power, send it, and consume it at the other end. Now, I’m not talking about inductive magnetic fields here. That process is also well understood, but not horribly efficient. As it turns out, a team at MIT is working on another interesting approach, involving 6.4MHz waves and resonance. Some claim this work goes back to Nikola Tesla, but there is clearly new research involved here.
I don’t think this work is going to result in a practical replacement for batteries, but it is interesting that the mobile-power problem is stimulating so much interesting thought. Practical applications, regardless, are no doubt at least a few years away. But stay tuned -- I have a feeling there are a lot of others tinkering with wireless power, and, who knows? Something practical just might appear sooner rather than later.
— Craig Mathias is Principal Analyst at the Farpoint Group , an advisory firm specializing in wireless communications and mobile computing. Special to Unstrung