This innovation is hoped to be embedded into tables and work surfaces so that as soon as a device is placed on the surface, it will be able to draw power. The technology uses magnetic fields to transmit up to 60 watts of power to a distance of up to two to three feet while only losing around 25% of the power during transmission.
A major concern of any wireless power technology is its possible effects on users. Fortunately during the demonstration the electricity was broadcast without electrocuting anyone who passed between the transmitter and the receiver. Intel’s lead researcher Josh Smith explained that, "The trick with wireless power is not that you can do it; it is that you can do it safely and efficiently." Magnetic fields, used by Intel’s WREL technology do not affect the human body (at least as far as we currently know), unlike electric fields, which might give the user a zap.
The idea of using resonant magnetic fields to wirelessly transmit electricity was demonstrated by a team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who refer to their idea as WiTricity. More recently Intel researchers joined forces with MIT to explore the phenomenon known as ”resonant induction,” and the outcome is a technology capable of transmitting power several feet away without wires.
Currently, resonant induction is used to recharge small devices such as electric toothbrushes. Future induction systems based on Intel’s technology will not be restricted to a physical touch between transmitter and receiver and will be able to transmit power over a distance of several feet with efficiency of 50 percent or more.
“In the future, your kitchen counters might do it [supply the power],” Mr. Smith said. “You’d just drop your espresso maker down on them and you would never have to plug it in.”
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