back to article Intel powers netbook via thin air

Wireless power transmission has taken another step towards commercial reality. At its eighth annual Research@Intel event on Thursday in Mountain View, California, the chip giant gave a crowd-gathering demo of what it calls a Wireless Resonant Energy Link (WREL). The demo setup included a hefty transmitter and receive-coil …


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  1. Chris C


    Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is (non-)simple inductance, right? Sending a current through a coil to generate magnetic flux, then using that magnetic flux to induce a current in another coil? If so, then how will this affect magnetically-affected materials? Examples that come to mind are all magnetic media (hard drives, floppy disks, backup tapes, VCR tapes, etc), CRT televisions and monitors, and projection televisions (the speaker in my guitar amp significantly affects my projection TV's image if they are about 6 inches apart or less).

  2. jai

    all very well...

    ...but i prefer Tesla's idea, with the big coil towers with huge arcing bolt of electricity and glowing, buzzing discs levitating ships into the air

    this invisible power stuff is funky, but it's a tad dull isn't it ?

    @Chris C - VCR TAPES!?!? FLOPPY DISKS?!?!?!? CRT?!?!?!? by the time you've got these things in your house i'd hope VCRs and CRTs are but a long distant memory GET INTO THE 21ST CENTURY DUDE!!!

  3. E 2

    Far out

    Puts a new spin on power over ethernet, eh?

  4. E 2

    @Chris C

    It could be a high-Q resonant mechanism like used in Tesla's energy transmission system.

  5. Chris 211


    This is pointless for anything but small low power devices, like mobile phones, mp3 players, that you could just leave on your desk charging and take away. Other then that I would like to see battery technology improved more.

    What I would like to see also is a POE charged laptop. Yes Yes everything is all 'wireless' now. Another technology best suited to small mobile devices and occasional use when out of the office.

  6. Anonymous Coward


    Cables are cheap. Cables are efficient. Cables work. Cables are easy to troubleshoot. So why would anyone want wireless power?

    It'll be yet another thing that won't work, and if you're lucky will be next to impossible to troubleshoot too. Of course the final nail in the coffin should be energy efficiency.

    Wireless power, you are The Weakest Link™, goodbye!

  7. A B 3

    Yeah, but...

    Does it play Mario Bros like a Tesla coil...


    long one sry

  8. Quirkafleeg
    Dead Vulture


    How, exactly, does somebody getting in the way or covering the transmitter in plasterboard *cause* the signal…?

  9. Watashi

    We're all going to hell

    Currently running at a maximum of 75% transmission efficiency, every device powered or charged by this method will generate at least 25% more CO2 than its wired counterpart. The biggest development of the decade in power technology for IT equipment makes our stuff significantly LESS energy efficient. And no one seems to care.

    We're all f*cked.

  10. lord_farquaad
    Paris Hilton

    lost copper ?

    Does this Mrs Cooper has something against copper ?

  11. Clive Galway
    Thumb Up


    ...If this tech were placed under the tarmac of roads, any time a car was on the road it would be charging.

    I see a number of benefits that come out of that:

    * maintains cerntralized power generation (More efficient surely?)

    * you wouldn't need such big batteries in leccy cars. Just a bit in case a cell or two was out or to drive off the network for a bit.

    * almost impossible to run out of fuel on the motorway

    * could maybe use the motion of the car to extract more energy (Moving faster thru the field or something)

    * taxing would probably be smarter and could be based upon energy used for each trip (A function of distance AND speed) without the need for cameras etc

    * Just park as normal to charge.

    * Low size, low power bolt on pickup and motor for a bicycle may be feasible (The flat pickup could fit in the space in the frame and doesn't look heavy) to provide assisted power for hills etc.

    In fact, if the road powering cells are smart, then surely an autopilot system of sorts (Maintaining a good distance from the car in front) would be easy as it would automatically pass less power to the car behind if the car in front slowed.

    And why limit it to roads? Do the pavement too. Power for laptops, run a net conn to it to, mobility scooters could get power from it, street sweepers, all kinds of uses.

  12. Nebulo
    Thumb Down

    And how, exactly ...

    does this POS restrict its electromagnetic pollution to the vicinity of the receiver? Or does it just spew it all over the place and fuck up anyone who might be trying to *use* the frequency for transmitting actual radio transmissions, as my cynical soul suspects?

  13. Jason Frear

    Magnetic Inductance system might also affect hard drives

    ChrisC might have a point here, even though were phasing out magnetic media, that 2Tb hard drive with all your data on might be a ripe target.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Not futuristic enough

    And there I was thinking this would be two silver parabolic antennas pointing at each other, and if you walk between them you get zapped! The coils do look pretty nifty, though, nice bit of decoration.

  15. Miek

    Why Wireless Power?

    "So why would anyone want wireless power?"

    To transmit power from solar satellites / space tethers to other spacecraft and earth. In terms of everyday earth stuff, Tesla thought the idea would be useful for transmitting power to ships at sea and such.

  16. John Angelico

    @quirkafleeg: Why spelling is important...

    Yes, indeed.

    The sentence "...this transmitter could be embedded in a wall with plasterboard over it and that wouldn't effect the transmission" actually negates the intended reply, rather than confirms it.

    "Effect" as a verb = to make or cause

    "Affect" as a verb = to interfere or act upon

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's the point?

    I don't get it. Here is Japan encouraging people to use individual switches on power extension boards to help save energy ... the rest of the world is starting to follow suit ... and then we've got this always on device constantly radiating energy in to the air. Makes no sense.

  18. Lionel Baden 1

    ohh i hope the neighbours get this !

    do you think its possible to hook up my tv computer fridge and water heater

  19. Rob


    I've seen the words 'flux' and 'transduce' in this article, so I want to know when we're going to be able to travel back to the future with a mad scientist who's got big hair.

  20. strider_
    Thumb Down


    um... correct me if i'm wrong, but that's an iPod in the picture connected to the 'small tinny speaker' right?

    and the battery in the iPod is suffcient to power such a small speaker...

    remind me again where the wireless power transmission fits in?

    I'm not sure what exactly it is they've succeded in demonstrating.

  21. Goat Jam
    Thumb Down

    Colour me sceptical

    "Although the demo was transmitting only about one or two watts at a distance of over a meter, Cooper claimed that in Intel's Seattle lab, they've managed to power a netbook at distances of between one and two meters, providing between 14 and 20 watts. She also said that lab tests had powered 40 and 60-watt light bulbs."

    Right. So why not demonstrate a 60watt bulb at the show instead of a 1 watt speaker then? Could it be that to power a 60 watt bulb you need to pump a Kw out of the transmitter with the unused energy being dissipated throughout the room in the form of heat or emf?

    Which brings us to the unstated efficiency of this system. For every watt received, how many watts need to be transmitted into the ether? How is that efficiency effected by distance?

    One would imagine that these are fairly important questions which have either gone unasked or unanswered.

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