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Power transfer system allows wireless charging on the go

Researchers at Aalto University in Finland have developed a new energy transfer technology that allows you to charge electronic devices without using cords or plugs. Wireless charging systems have been around for some time, the difference is that they could now work independently of the position of the transmitter and receiver.

Currently, wireless power transfer equipment is not capable of charging devices placed anywhere within a large area. Larger transmitters increase electromagnetic exposure, making control on individual devices more difficult. If many smaller transmitters are used, the receivers need to be precisely aligned at fixed locations, preventing equipment mobility.

“The beauty of our method is that it is very simple, yet very sophisticated. We don’t need a high-end processor or many calculations to make transmitters smart. In short, our approach detects the presence and position of the receptor electromagnetically,” explains nanoengineering professor Prasad Jayathurathnage.

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more mobility

The approach proposed by the scientists arranges the transmitters in a grid with the current in the surrounding devices running in opposite directions — for example, a clockwise loop in one transmitter and counterclockwise loops in its nearest neighbors.

This creates a chessboard-like grid with positive and negative transmission coils, generating a magnetic flux between them. A receiver above the transmitter grid picks up the magnetic flux between positive and negative transmitters, creating an electrical current to charge the device.

“As the presence of a receiver triggers energy transfer, the system can work without any position tracking and communication between the receivers and transmitters. It also means that power is transferred only to the receiver, rather than the entire area being energized, allowing multiple devices to be charged simultaneously,” adds Jayathurathnage.

varied applications

As the energy transfer continues even when the device is in motion, this technology could be used to power electric vehicles while they are in motion. Another advantage is that warehouse robots, household items, phones or laptops would be able to receive power anywhere in the loading area, without needing a fixed point to do so.

The next step will be to increase power levels from around 1 kW to approximately 20 kW, allowing more equipment to be charged at the same time in a much shorter amount of time. In addition, such a system would avoid overconsumption and waste of electricity.

“Currently, you have to put a rice cooker or a blender at a certain point to get energy. But with our technology we can turn the entire kitchen countertop into a source of electricity for household appliances, with the advantage that the electromagnetic field is generated only under the devices”, concludes Professor Prasad Jayathurathnage.

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