All the mobile devices, be it tablets or Smartphone’s, they allow us to work, have access to information, allow communication and all these are done wirelessly, yet their batteries need to be charged into an outlet by plugging.
But the University of Washington engineers has developed for the first time a safe method to charge the Smartphone’s using a laser, wirelessly. The guard and charging lasers are invisible to human eye normally, but the red beams are inserted in the guard beams for the purpose of demonstration.
The team reports and was published in a paper online in December in the Proceedings of the Association for Computing machinery on mobile, interactive, wearable, a narrow invisible beam can deliver charge from a laser emitter to a Smartphone across a room and it can charge as fast as any USB cable.
This was demonstrated by the team by mounting a thin power cell to the Smartphone back and that charges the smartphone using power from the laser. The team, also assured that these were safe and tailored. It included a flat-plate heat sink, a metal on the smartphone to give out excess heat from the laser and the reflector mechanism to put off the laser, in case a person moves in the path of charging beam.
Shyam Gollakota, an associate professor of UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering said ‘our main focus was safety while designing this system’. We have constructed, designed and tested the charging system that is laser based with safety mechanism and assure the laser emitter will switch off from the charging beam before any individual comes into the laser path.
The team that designed the safety features and the entire wireless charging system was led by Gollakota and co-author Arka Majumdar, a UW assistant professor of physics and electrical engineering. Apart from the safety mechanism terminating the charging beam, a heatsink also liberates the excess heat produced by the charging beam, said Majumdar, the researcher. These features make our wireless charging system to meet the high level of safety standards that it can be applied to various home and commercial settings.
“The guard beams act faster because those beams are reflected the emitter back at light’s speed,” said Gollakota. “Thus, when the guard beam is interrupted by any person’s movement, the emitter detects and deploys a shutter blocking the charging beam before the person contacts it.”
The researchers strongly believe that their robust safety features and heat-dissipation characteristics could enable wireless, laser-based charging devices, such as tablets, cameras and even desktop computers. It means, the pre-bedtime routine of plugging tablet, smartphone or laptop may be replaced with merely placing it on the table.