A new wireless phone charging system has been demonstrated using laser beams. Created by a team from the University of Washington, it can be used to charge a phone from across the room.

 

Adding to the growing list of wireless charging technologies, a team of engineers at the University of Washington have demonstrated a new and unique way to safely charge a phone using laser. The new technique makes use of a laser charging system were a laser emitter can deliver charge to a smartphone sitting across a room. This system could charge a smartphone as fast as a standard USB cable.

 

Laser Charging Mobile Phone
A thin power cell mounted to the back of the smartphone, charges the smartphone using power from the laser. (Photo Credit: University of Washington)

 

Smartphone Laser Charging
The charging beam is generated by a laser emitter configured to produce a focused beam in the near-infrared spectrum. (Photo Credit: University of Washington)

 

  • The smartphone is programmed to signal its location by emitting high-frequency sound chirps (inaudible to human ears) for the laser emitter to pick up.
  • Thin aluminum strips are placed on the back of the smartphone around the power cell, to protect the smartphone from getting overheated by the charging beam.
  • “Guard beams” are emitted by another laser source to physically “surround” the charging beam. These beams are designed to protect against potential harm to humans, as it triggers an instant block of the charging beam, in the event of trespass.

 

Laser Charger Design Team
The design team – Standing (left-to-right): Vikram Iyer, Shyam Gollakota, Elyas Bayati.
Seated (left-to-right): Rajalakshmi Nandakumar, Arka Majumdar. (Credit: Mark Stone/University of Washington)

The team believes that this wireless phone charging system could someday, enable wireless laser-based charging of other devices, such as cameras, tablets and even desktop computers.

Links: University of Washington

 


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