Wednesday, November 15, 2006

More Ideas From Smart People!!

Have you ever wished that you could charge all your chargeables with the same device, instead of having ten different cords plugged into ten different outlets? Wouldn't it be especially nifty if that universal charger were wireless and automatic? No more being tied to the wall. No more having all the videos from Christmas taken from the same awkward angle because you didn't remember to charge the camcorder and the only accessible plug-in is behind the tree. No more losing important documents because you forgot to hit "save" and your laptop battery unexpectedly bit the dust. No more sitting in that really hot sunny spot by the dining room window because your cell phone started to die during an important call and that's as far as the power cord you frantically hunted down and plugged into the nearest outlet would reach. Ahhh. Electronic freedom--the stuff dreams are made of.

Needless to say, the reason I'm bringing this up is because there are Smart People working on it. Celeste Biever, at, writes that Marin Soljacic at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (have I mentioned before how much I love cut and paste?) is working on a method called "evanescent coupling" to liberate chargeable electronic devices from their base stations and allow them to start refilling their energy coffers as soon as you walk in your door. What is evanescent coupling you ask? Something magical and useful all at the same time, and complicated, using magnetic fields and resonant frequencies and other things like capacitors. I'm going to cheat and tell you to go read Biever's explanation for the detailed parts, but basically it involves sending a weak electromagnetic field out from the wireless charger, which resonates with a compatible device, allowing it to induce an electric current on the receiving end of the combination. That's probably enough for most of us "Not As Smart People" to believe that such a thing as wireless chargers could be possible, and to be grateful that we aren't the ones who have to figure out how to make it all work. For the rest of you, you probably already know how to make it work, and are wasting your time with this post, so go read the article at New Scientist.

I started thinking about all the gizmos that we use that need to be charged; drills, razors, dust-busters, toothbrushes, you name it, and imagined how very cool it would be to have them all released from cord bondage. If they were always charging, just by being in the house, they would never go dead. Cordless drills might actually be worth having, and the dust-buster might come back out of the dustbin. Then my imagination really got going, and I started to wonder whether this technology, once they actually get it beyond the theory stage, might deliver us from cords altogether. Could everything in the house someday have the proper resonance receptor? I don't see why not, and some Smart People should get right on that notion. The one other thing that occurred to me was to wonder what my Naturopath/Acupuncturist would think of having all those electromagnetic fields flying all over the house all the time. I better not tell him I'm sitting here with my laptop actually in my lap. Gasp!! Oh well, let's assign some really Smart People to figure out how to make personal electronic shields. Whaddya think?

Hat tip: Futurismic