Wireless Power: Wave of the Future?

blub3This year in CES we can expect some new products that feature a the latest wireless technology: wireless power. Of course, we saw stuff like this at last year’s CES and it wasn’t that cool, but still.

Health hazards, efficiency, and cost have always been issues in the development of wireless power technology, but a growing number of companies are saying that they have solved those problems. They call it “WiTricity” and these companies are hoping that it can revolutionize mobile computing just as Wi-Fi did. Not likely with a name like WiTricity, but let’s try to focus on the ideas here.

One such company is PowerBeam. They have developed a system that beams power via an invisible laser to a solar cell that converts it to power. This system can provide 1.5 watts of power to a device 10 meters away. This won’t satiate my power hungry MacBook Pro that consumes 85 watts of power, but PowerBeams claims that the technology can be safely scaled up. After all, lasers never hurt anyone!

Now what about safety? The system shuts down within a thousandth of a second if anything obstructs the beam. So you won’t end up with a nasty burn if you walk through the beam. The PowerBeam technology requires line of sight, which is inconvenient for some but I’d say preferable to having the power beamed right through all your junk.

We’ll let you know just how solid this tech is looking over the next couple days.