Wireless charging has been around for a few years. But for the most part if you want to charge a phone or another gadget without plugging it in, you’ll need to place it directly on (or very close to) a charging pad.
Several companies are working on solutions that will eliminate that proximity requirement by beaming power through the air so that you can charge any compatible gadgets as long as they’re in a room.
Now Disney Research says it’s built a prototype of a system that does just that.
Researchers say their system uses quaqsistatic cavity resonance, or QSCR to fill a 16′ x 16′ room with magnetic fields “that safely deliver kilowatts of power to mobile receivers” placed in that room.
In other words, all you need to do is walk into the room to start charging your phone. Efficiency is said to range from 95 percent to 40 percent, depending how close you are to the center of the room (where a copper pole is placed).
Right now the technology depends on a specially constructed room with metal in the ceilings, floors, and furniture… and that aforementioned copper pole. So it’s not clear how practical it would be to add this sort of wireless charging system to your home. But eventually the researchers say it might be possible to deliver similar results with “modular panels or conductive paint” added to an existing space.
While I’m not sure we’ll be using this particular system to recharge our smartphones at home anytime soon, I’m not surprised that a company like Disney is looking into this sort of room-scale charging solution.
The company has been an innovator in the use of wearables like the MagicBand wristband, and while that particular device has a battery that dies after a year or two of use, it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where Disney provides visitors to its parks with wearables or other gadgets that can be automatically charged when you’re in a hotel room, restaurant, or other location.
As for consumer-oriented wireless charging systems? Companies like uBeam and Energous have been promising that it’s on the horizon for a while, but neither company has managed to bring a room-scale system to market just yet.