At the advent of Wi-fi battery power

11:07:00 AM

The Palm Pre, it's been announced, has a swanky innovation new to desks and outlets of the average household: a docking station that charges the phone without cables called the Touchstone. It requires purchasing the accessory outfitted to receive the charge through magnetic rather than electrical impulse, but it's wireless. The device and dock need to be touching, but it's wireless. The energy is not floating through the air like an FM signal is energy floating through the air, but it's still, wireless.

And, while the standard, off-the-shelf hard drive went form gigabytes to terabytes practically over night and the average processor when from megahertz to gigahertz in as quick a time, the average life of a gadget battery is, still, hardly enough to get you through the day. Battery power and its storage remains relatively slow in progress to the nearly miraculous advances in our household hardware.

So where is our equivalent of Wi-Fi for charging our phones and laptops? Presumably the Palm Pre and future owners of it will, at some point, have to ask, and even demand, that their smartphone starts charging the minute they walk into their house. For that matter, while their devices can connect and co-operate via home networks and bluetooth, where, if ever, can we disavow ourselves of that last, most important wire of all: the power plug?

There is hope that we'll see it happen not just in our lifetimes, but soon:

MIT Researchers Transmit Wireless Electricity
by Nell Greenfieldboyce
Morning Edition, June 8, 2007 · Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have figured out a way to transmit electric power over the air, meaning one day your cell phone could recharge itself without your having to plug it in. They're calling it Wi-tricity — short for "wireless electricity.

TR10: Wireless Power
Physicist Marin Soljacic is working toward a world of wireless electricity.
By Jennifer Chu

"At the head of the pack was inventor Nikola Tesla, who had a grand scheme to beam elec­tricity around the world. Having difficulty imagining a vast infrastructure of wires extending into every city, building, and room, Tesla figured that wireless was the way to go. He drew up plans for a tower, about 57 meters tall, that he claimed would transmit power to points kilometers away, and even started to build one on Long Island."

Suffice it to say, I don't presume to be an engineer, but, aside from such inspiring visions such as an unseen energy grid powering electric cars whose owners need not worry about stopping from time to time at eco-friendly stations, it goes without saying that when my cell phone begins a charging cycle by the mere act of walking into a battery hot spot, then, and only then, will this blog finally find that it has nothing more to say.

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