Wireless energy eliminates cable chaos
Cables are the bane of many a desktop and increasing numbers of devices can even turn the most organized workspaces into spaghetti junction. The answer to this cabling headache is wireless power. To this end, researchers at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Electronic Nano Systems (ENAS) have developed an interesting system that uses a magnetic field in a table to deliver power to devices placed on it.
The principle of the design is similar to an induction cooker. It uses a network of coils integrated into a desk, which form antenna. When electricity flows through the coil, it generates an magnetic field, which then induces electricity in any device that has a coil integrated into it. To make the devices receive power anywhere when placed on the desk, the researchers have developed a multi-antennae system that generates power in just a single location.
“We populate a printed circuit board (PCB) with numerous antennas in such a way that a magnetic field is generated only under the surface of the receiver. The distances between the antennas and the dimensions of them are carefully chosen to produce a homogeneous field,” says Dr Christian Hedayat, department head at Fraunhofer ENAS in Paderborn.
The team ensures that radiation levels are kept to a minimum, by only switching on antennae which have a device placed on top of it. The system achieves this by identifying a device that has a coil and querying whether it is able to receive power.
The first systems are expected to be on the market in late 2014, starting with a desk lamp and PCBs for retrofitting both large and small tables. In addition to delivering power, the system will also be capable of delivering wireless data.