|16 February 2017|

USA

Disney has developed a method of wirelessly powering devices – like smartphones – which is as simple as connecting to WiFi.

Disney Research demonstrated its method, called quasistatic cavity resonance (QSCR), inside a specially built 16-by-16-foot room at their lab.

“This new innovative method will make it possible for electrical power to become as ubiquitous as WiFi,” said Alanson Sample, associate lab director & 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.”

The Disney Research team of Matthew J. Chabalko, Mohsen Shahmohammadi and Alanson P. Sample has published its research report on QSCR in the online journal PLOS ONE.

“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.

The QSCR method involves inducing electrical currents in the metalized walls, floor and ceiling of a room, which in turn generate uniform magnetic fields that permeate the room’s interior. This enables power to be transmitted efficiently to receiving coils that operate at the same resonant frequency as the magnetic fields. The induced currents in the structure are channeled through discrete capacitors, which isolate potentially harmful electrical fields.

Though the demonstration room was specially constructed, Sample said it likely will be possible to reduce the need for metalized walls, ceilings and floors in the future. It may be possible to retrofit existing structures, for instance, with modular panels or conductive paint. Larger spaces might be accommodated by using multiple copper poles.

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