Wednesday, April 9, 2008

When are we going to see wireless AC power?

Mark my words: the day is coming, and soon will be, when we no longer need wires to connect our electrical (and electronic) devices to a power source.

A few years ago, I was chatting with one of my professors at Covenant Seminary, and I mentioned this. (We were talking about the eventual plans for the "courtyard" space at CTS, which is now a circle driveway but eventually will be a garden/picnic/sitting area with green space and landscaping.) I suggested that total wireless-- not just "wifi" which allows wireless network connections, but wireless electricity-- would be the ideal here. He said it couldn't be done.

But it can be done. Witness the amazing technology that wireless networks are: where once we were required to have a telephone line connection (which is an electrical signal), we then transitioned to hard-wired ethernet connections (which are also electrical signals). Now we have fully wireless connections: somewhere in my house, my office, and most every coffee shop I visit, it's possible to connect to the Internet without the use of a wired connection.

We already have batteries, which are both freeing and troublesome: freeing, in that they allow us (for a certain period of time-- sometimes much shorter than we prefer!) to move about with our mobile phones, laptop computers, and all manner of other devices powered, before we have to plug them in to recharge. Troublesome, because, a) the battery life never is enough; b) we still have to recharge them; and c) eventually they die completely, creating landfill and ecological concerns. (Yes, they can be recycled to a degree-- but only some parts. The rest are discarded.)

My guess is this: it won't be long before technology catches up and we are able to "receive" electricity wirelessly. We are already surrounded by half of the signal, which is grounding. It's only a matter of time before they figure out how to push the positive current through the air at enough power to keep mobile phones running, then computers, and eventually cars and houses. No more outages from downed power lines, and no more expensive gasoline.

The only question then will be: will battery makers and oil companies fight to suppress this technology?

I give it 2 years before the proof-of-concept devices are out there, and another 1-2 before broad market acceptance is in place. What do you think?

No comments:

Post a Comment