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Power Technology

Focused Microwaves Could Enable Wireless Power Transfer 180

Posted by Soulskill
from the pushing-pinpoint-power-production dept.
esocid alerts us to news out of the University of Michigan, where physics researchers have found a way to focus microwaves to a point 20 times smaller than their wavelength using a new 'superlens'. Such resolution was thought to be impossible until recent years, and it could bring about the capability to transfer power wirelessly. "No matter how powerful a conventional lens, it cannot focus light down to more than about half its wavelength, the 'diffraction limit'. This limits the amount of data that can be stored on a CD, and the size of features on computer chips. The new lens is a 127-micrometer-thick plate of teflon and ceramic with a copper topping. 'The beauty of these is that they're planar,' Grbic says, 'they're easy to fabricate.' The lenses can be made through a single step of photolithography, the process used to etch computer chips."
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Focused Microwaves Could Enable Wireless Power Transfer

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  • Back in the 1960's. Diode grid to rectify the beamed power. Bad idea.
    • by Kuukai (865890) on Friday April 25, 2008 @07:42PM (#23204100) Journal
      I know what you mean, messing with wireless power is a seriously bad idea. Tesla tried it too, and look what happened to him. He's DEAD!
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by infonography (566403)
        Not just Tesla, think of all those poor birds, when they land on these wires it's instant fried sparrow.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Do you think perhaps that the power levels we are discussing here are somewhat lower? Just maybe things take less power these days? Rectennas were meant to deliver grid-power rectified from microwave masers in orbit... I think here we are talking about a few mW to power a gizmo. Sheez.
      • Re:We tried that (Score:4, Interesting)

        by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Friday April 25, 2008 @08:08PM (#23204248) Homepage
        It's interesting to consider whether power beamed down from orbit even has much of a future. If space elevators ever become a reality, it seems much safer just to have power from orbital solar arrays wired back down the elevator than beam it, where anything passing through could be fried.
        • Re:We tried that (Score:5, Insightful)

          by joto (134244) on Friday April 25, 2008 @08:46PM (#23204470)

          Depends on how much the power is needed, and how soon. The space elevator seems like it's a long time away, still in need of new materials to be invented, and so on. On the other hand, solar power in space is feasible now, at least technically.

          Without power people die. So the risks of catastrophic failure of microwave power transmission from space, must be weighted against the possibility of many people not getting electricity. It might be safer to build powerplants now, than to wait for a hypothetical space elevator.

        • Re:We tried that (Score:5, Interesting)

          by NeverVotedBush (1041088) on Friday April 25, 2008 @08:57PM (#23204534)
          The issue with wires is that you will have IR drop and I^2R power losses. If you make the wires thicker to cut the resistance and losses, you have now made the wires heavier. Plus, you have to somehow support the weight of all that wire which means the tensile strength must be huge.

          On the other hand, if you beam the energy down, you will have much lower losses provided the atmosphere is transparent at the wavelength you use to send the energy. All you will get from beam spread will be a lower energy density but the same total amount of energy (aside from absorption and scatter losses) will be available.

          Beaming power down is probably a much more efficient way to go depending on conversion losses at the source, the scatter and absorption losses, and the conversion losses again at the receiver.

          I don't know about the efficiencies and losses of beaming but would guess they would be much less than however many miles of cable would be required and would bet the cost would be lower as well.

          You would just need to make damn sure you switch the beam off if it quits tracking the target receiver. Bu as the other person commented, I think this isn't intended to beam power from space.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Actually, wire losses fall off as 1/e^(decay*r); it's free space where losses go as 1/r^2 when you get to the antennas' far field, but your overall point is still valid.

            For *any* wire, even if it was made out of a really good conductor like gold, there is always some distance where the losses become greater than that of wireless transmission at the same distance.
            • Re:We tried that (Score:5, Informative)

              by NeverVotedBush (1041088) on Friday April 25, 2008 @11:31PM (#23205236)
              What I was referring to was current squared times resistance which equals power. The R was resistance and not radius. V = I * R, and W = I * V. Therefore, W = I * I * R.

              Likewise, the IR drop is also just Ohm's law which equals voltage. The resistance will have some value per unit length and the longer the length, the more voltage drop.

              The way to drop the current, so the I^2R (watts) losses can be reduced is to increase the voltage. But as you go to higher voltage, and higher altitude, where the air pressure starts getting low enough to support a plasma discharge, insulation starts getting important which just leads to more weight, etc.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by beav007 (746004)
                So. What about beaming it down the elevator umbilical cord, using optic fibre?
          • by drinkypoo (153816)
            basically you cannot do the wire without true room temperature superconductors. there's no reasonable way to cool the tether, it has to achieve practically all cooling via radiation. so if you can work out the superconductor then you don't want to beam power down, but if you can't, it's the only means remaining. if I write sci-fi, I will use a superconducting cable unless I want to fry people with microwaves :)
        • It's interesting to consider whether power beamed down from orbit even has much of a future.

          I'm not sure solar power from orbit is going to be that good an idea as a primary world power source, at least until global warming is already largely solved. I may well be over simplifying things, but isn't the basic problem of global warming a matter of too much energy in the biosphere? How is adding more energy to the equation going to do anything but make it worse? I know that ideally it would replace hydrocar
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            I don't see how it is that different from burning carbon-based fuels or running nuclear power plants. Both of those release heat energy back into the atmosphere/biosphere as well.

            Beaming the power in, where some of it (depending on efficiencies in transmission and use) would be turned into heat energy, would actually release less energy into the biosphere than nuclear or fossil fuels where the inefficiencies in power production itself, since it occurs in the biosphere, release additional heat energy.
            • by FooAtWFU (699187)
              Carbon-based fuels such as oil and coal (and derivatives) release, um, carbon dioxide, rumored in certain circles to be some sort of a "greenhouse gas". This stuff apparently traps the daily dose of solar heat far in excess of the actual heat which is produced.

              We're talking the Sun outputting ~174 petawatts here, people. Peta. (And not the "people eating tasty animals" PETA either). Fossil fuel waste heat is about 13 terawatts. .007% It really hardly matters at all next to changes in the thermal permittivi

              • Um, I know that carbon-based fuels lead to carbon dioxide emissions.

                The point I was replying to was that beaming energy down to the planet added energy to the biosphere.

                The point I was making was that any method of producing energy terrestrially will have losses associated with it and that will release additional energy in the biosphere.

                Collecting energy in outer space, and converting it to some beamable form of energy will have any inefficiencies in that process occur in outer space and the heat g
          • Re:We tried that (Score:4, Interesting)

            by node 3 (115640) on Friday April 25, 2008 @09:24PM (#23204684)
            The energy in question is coming from the sun, and was going to enter the biosphere anyway.

            To a certain extent, the effect will be the exact opposite of what you are thinking, as the sunlight would have most assuredly heated the land, sea and air, but beamed down to the electrical grid, it will be stored in other forms, such as the potential energy of a high-rise building, or in places where the increased warming isn't terribly important, like the area immediately around a ski lift.
            • Cutoff Point. (Score:4, Informative)

              by pavon (30274) on Saturday April 26, 2008 @01:16AM (#23205628)

              The energy in question is coming from the sun, and was going to enter the biosphere anyway.
              Some of it would have, but some of it would also be reflected. On average, the earth has an albedo (fraction of light reflected) of about 37%.

              To a certain extent, the effect will be the exact opposite of what you are thinking, as the sunlight would have most assuredly heated the land, sea and air, but beamed down to the electrical grid, it will be stored in other forms
              In the long run it will all be converted to heat. Furthermore, there are very few uses of electricity that result in storage as potential energy of some form. Looking at California data [ca.gov], the Residential, Commercial, TCU and Streetlights will all be AC/lights/electronics which will be converted to heat immediately. The mining sector and industrial sectors will result in some potential (lifted mass, increased chemical potential of stable compounds, etc) But the machines they use to do this are not very efficient. Even if we are very generous and say that half of their energy is used for these purposes, and those machines are 50% efficient, that gives 5% of total energy use being converted to potential form.

              So if the energy efficiency of the panel/beam is greater than about 100%-37%-5% = 58%, then this system will result in more heat than would normally occur from the sunlight.

              Of course, even if it does significantly increase the amount of heat generated for the fraction of sunlight that it captures, that is still a tiny fraction of the sky that is covered, and the net result will be completely negligible compared to just about anything else.
          • Re:We tried that (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Jeremi (14640) on Friday April 25, 2008 @09:43PM (#23204796) Homepage
            I may well be over simplifying things, but isn't the basic problem of global warming a matter of too much energy in the biosphere?


            No, the problem is that carbon dioxide is acting as a blanket, trapping too much heat beneath it.


            How is adding more energy to the equation going to do anything but make it worse?


            It's not a heat beam, it's a microwave beam. There's a big difference between the two. The amount of heat generated by the beam when it reaches the receiver would be insignificant, and it would generate no heat when going through the atmosphere, because the wavelength chosen would be one that is transparent with respect to air. So the net effect would be practically zero added heat. (Even if you count the heat generated by the motors powered by the resulting electricity, it's still insignificant compared to the heat trapped by CO2 in the atmosphere) And if we use that device to replace traditional fossil fuels, then its net effect would be a significant reduction in CO2 output.


            There are good reasons why in-orbit solar power isn't a good idea at this time, but your reason isn't one of them.

          • by khallow (566160)
            Heat from human activity is an insignificant power source. It is many orders of magnitude lower than the solar influx. My take is the drop in albedo from dark roads, parking lots, and roofs are larger heat sources than heat from human activities.
        • by Ihmhi (1206036)

          I don't see how a plane getting burned by a microwave beam is any different than a plane running into the tether of an orbital elevator. What, they can *see* the tether? Not in low visibility.

          That particular danger is no risk to planes so long as warning beacons are established. That worst that is going to happen is that a flock of geese is going to get sauteed in 3 seconds.

          If you think about it, this would actually be better for us anyway. I'm sure some idiot would get it into their head to try and run

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Z00L00K (682162)
          It's easier to look up a decent desert and place the solar arrays there. A lot easier to maintain.

          Of course - it doesn't have to be a desert, just a place where it's seldom cloudy.

          The transmission losses using microwave to transfer energy may make that setup unpractical anyway. And there is the health issue too. What if a solar array turns the radiation to downtown Los Angeles or other major city? Time for the greatest Darwin Award in history?

    • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Friday April 25, 2008 @08:25PM (#23204364) Journal
      Back in the 1960's. Diode grid to rectify the beamed power. Bad idea.

      Actually it was a very GOOD idea. But NASA blew it.

      The plan was to site solar power satellites in geosync orbit and bring the power back via microwaves.

      Unlike microwave ovens (which are tuned to a frequency that is strongly absorbed by water), these would be tuned to a frequency where water - clouds, rain, birds, cows, people - is essentially transparent. This is good both for getting the power through the atmosphere and avoiding rains of roast duck.

      I could go into detail on why there's no problem from the millimeter waves, but that would take time. Short form: System failures defocus the beam so much it becomes just radio interference in directional antennas pointed at the satellites. Even when fully focussed it's not an issue for tissue: You can grow crops and graze cattle under the (rather spindly) rectennas, so they don't even use up the chunk of land they're on.

      Benefits:
        - Enough power to completely replace fossil fuel AND nuclear plants and absorb forseeable energy use expansion for decades.
        - 'Way cheaper, too. (Even at '60s fuel prices.)
        - Essentially no pollution at ground level.
        - Bootstraps a space program that can then move other manufacturing processes, and THEIR pollution, off the planet as well.

      NASA blew it by doing a study that purported to show it would be too expensive. But they did that by splitting the design teams for the rockets and the power plant. The power plant designers made a turbine very large to get a couple extra percent of efficiency. Then the rocket designers came up with a heavy lifter sized to take the biggest piece. Result: Enormous rockets with few trips to ammortize the design/construction costs, rather than moderate sized ones with many trips. Cost skyrockets versus a properly integrated design with a small turbine and a fleet of smaller lifters.
      • by Jeremi (14640) on Friday April 25, 2008 @09:30PM (#23204706) Homepage
        NASA blew it by doing a study that purported to show it would be too expensive.


        Actually, NASA's study got it exactly right. The amount of solar-collecting material you'd need to place into orbit is large enough that you'd spend a lot more energy and money getting it into orbit then you'd ever get back from it once it was functional. Things may have improved since then (more efficient rockets, lighter solar panels, etc), but I doubt they've improved so much as to make the plane feasible yet. I'd re-do the feasibility studies after the space elevator is up and working, getting enough mass into orbit will be a lot cheaper then :^)

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Don't forget military vulnerability. If your entire power supply is based on things that are really far away in space, you'll have a hell of a time protecting them from sabotage or outright war. In fact, in case of war, you'll need to have some kind of back-up power source that you can use to power your country for at least a few years, until you either lose and get taken over (in which case it's now someone else's problem) or the war ends peacefully and you can shoot another transmitter into space.

          In tha
          • by Kjella (173770)
            To a degree. Building a supply of say oil is quite possible, the problem is that we're running out. If we stopped using oil and started using all space power, we'd have plenty oil that could be stored in case of emergency. But we can't do that, if we use up all the oil and THEN try to use space power.
        • The only sane way of building such a system would be to construct it in space. This would mean collecting asteroids in near-Earth orbits, mining them for materials and constructing the panels from orbital factories. Assuming enough raw materials could be found (quite a big 'if'), the process could become self-sustaining, but the start-up costs would be huge.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Benefits:

        - Enough power to completely replace fossil fuel AND nuclear plants and absorb forseeable energy use expansion for decades.

        - 'Way cheaper, too. (Even at '60s fuel prices.)

        - Essentially no pollution at ground level.

        - Bootstraps a space program that can then move other manufacturing processes, and THEIR pollution, off the planet as well.

        I'd like to add another:

        - Completely change the balance of power in the middle east by dropping a significant fraction of daily demand for oil.

  • What is it with geeks and magnifying glasses?
  • Misleading title (Score:3, Insightful)

    by meatmanek (1062562) on Friday April 25, 2008 @07:43PM (#23204108)
    While it's nifty that they can focus EM radiation to a smaller point now, I'm not following how this will enable wireless power transfer [wikipedia.org].
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      While it's nifty that they can focus EM radiation to a smaller point now, I'm not following how this will enable wireless power transfer.

      Smaller rectennas. Higher efficiencies. Less land use for the receiving end. Lower cost as a result of all three.

      Less power beam soaking into other things, too, which means you can find a receiving site closer to the load and shorten the transmission line.
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Friday April 25, 2008 @07:47PM (#23204130)
    What I remember from studying this technology 15 years ago was that it was possible to create a beam sharper than the diffraction limit, but the result was diffuse spill-over. That is, one could create an extremely sharp main lobe in the beam pattern, but one had to suffer higher side-lobes. That's OK for imaging and lithography applications -- the spill-over is diffuse enough not to cause too many problems. But for power applications it means both inefficiency (power lost to the side lobes) and irradiation for people who think they aren't in the beam.
  • by jd (1658) <imipak @ y a h o o .com> on Friday April 25, 2008 @07:48PM (#23204136) Homepage Journal
    If the limits on a CD are because of conventional lenses, and this can get 10 times the best a lens can do, it follows that a superlens-based CD, DVD or Blu-Ray system could get 10 times the capacity per track and 10 times as many tracks (in other words, 100 times the capacity). That would be some serious storage space.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)

      a superlens-based CD, DVD or Blu-Ray system could get 10 times the capacity per track
      Maybe it could it improve resolution in integrated circuit manufacture as well.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Circuit fabrication is already using x-rays for the really fine feature devices. The lens they made was for microwaves - much much longer (orders of magnitude longer) wavelengths, where the feature size is possible to construct the capacitors.

        The feature size to be able to lens visible light will be much much smaller, and to lens x-rays, will be smaller still.

        Since they are using photolithography to create these devices now, they are using a much shorter wavlength of light to make features that allow
        • by jd (1658)
          X-Ray fluorescence must work at scales comparable to X-Rays, and X-Ray fluorescence works on the scale of the inermost electron shells and/or the nucleus itself. That seems simple enough. They needed features half that in size. That's a much harder problem, but it would seem solvable. There are probably crystal structures that would do nicely, but there is a much geekier way to do this. Superconductors have lanes runing through them that can be considered ice-skating rinks for electrons. These lanes may act
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by dgatwood (11270)

      And in 10 years when the price of the media drops to the point of affordability, 5 terabytes will still be too small to back up your hard drive without using a hundred of them.... :-)

  • by Whuffo (1043790) on Friday April 25, 2008 @08:22PM (#23204336) Homepage Journal
    Beaming power via microwaves has been suggested many times over the years - and it's still not a good idea.

    Firstly, it's horribly inefficient. There are significant losses over the signal path that hand waving won't make go away. And then there's the real show-stopper: high power microwave beams would be a hazard to aviation, shipping, or anything or anyone else who got in the way.

    There'd be enough scattering of the beam to spread the danger around. Sure, this technology is possible - but there just don't seem to be any practical applications for it. Wire is much more efficient and airmen have a chance to see and avoid it. They'd never know that microwave beam was there until they entered it.

    Beaming power in from space is a perennial favorite - but nobody ever seems to be able to get around the atmospheric effects. And I'd prefer to not have any randomly scattered ionizing radiation impinging on my home, thanks.

    • by sticks_us (150624)
      These are good points--I'm sure there are people who have weaponized this kind of thing based on the hazards you describe.

      I've been fascinated with this topic ever since my "Gamma World" days, where broadcast power was used to provide energy to remote robots, computers, machine-gun emplacements, etc.

      And, as for effeciency, I always thought a directed form of energy would avoid the incredible waste you'd find with a pure broadcast-type of power (which would probably decrease in strength proportional to the c
    • by Jeremi (14640)
      Wire is much more efficient and airmen have a chance to see and avoid it.

      It seems to me that airmen see a line of tall towers with blinky red lights at the top, they should know not to fly between the towers whether they see wires between them or not. Even without the possibility of microwave death beams (tm), the wires might just be too small for them to see. Surely they teach this sort of thing in flight school?

      That said, I wonder exactly what the consequences would be for an airplane that flew through

    • "And I'd prefer to not have any randomly scattered ionizing radiation impinging on my home, thanks."

      You already do. It's all around you, at varying levels depending on where you live, the altitude where you live, the things in your home, what it's made of, what you eat, etc.

      "Cosmic rays" are everywhere and then you have radioactive decay of radon gas, the significant radioactive isotope of potassium (lite salt is slightly radioactive), thorium in lantern mantles, thorium in arc welding rods, traces o
    • airmen have a chance to see and avoid it
      This is not a problem. Pilots already have many many hazards they can't see already. These are marked on the charts as no-go zones.

      In reality, most flights are done essentially 'blind' using IFR flight rules that require zero visibility. So this issue is a non-problem.
    • by khallow (566160) on Friday April 25, 2008 @11:27PM (#23205218)
      What I hear is that you can get 85% efficiency on a pass through Earth's atmosphere (between ground and orbit) (which is about equivalent to maybe 8-10 km of sea level atmosphere). That's pretty good and it improves as you increase in altitude. At 18,000 feet (or a bit over 5000 meters) the inefficiency is halved (to I suppose 92-93%). And I'm dubious about your claim that wire is more efficient. Sure running a microwave along the ground is crazy. But bouncing it off an orbital reflector is pretty efficient (or starting with a solar powered satellite in the first place).
    • But really! It's been done!
      Wireless Extension Cords [thinkgeek.com]
    • Nitpick - Power from space would never be in the form of ionizing radiation. Radiation isn't ionizing until the photons or particles have enough energy to make ions by kicking electrons loose from atoms. We're talking microwaves, not vaccuum ultraviolet :)
    • by tcgroat (666085)
      The deal-killer for space-based power generation via Hertzian cables is the difficulty of putting it in geosynchronous orbit. Consider how long and how many flights it's taken to assemble the ISS. That's for low earth orbit, where the space shuttle and Souyuz can reach it. Getting a series of power generation satellites to the Clarke belt would make that task look simple.
  • I mean those microwave power plants have misfires all the time. Can we really afford to lose that arcology? It cost a ton.
  • I've often bitched about the over use of the whatcouldpossiblygowrong tag, but if ever there was a time for it, this is it.
    • by DragonTHC (208439)
      fully agreed. people are going to walk around with microscopic holes burned into their bodies and wonder why. This is the dumbest idea ever.

      what's wrong with induction for wireless power?
      • What's wrong with wires and batteries and compact power plants or fuel cells? Sure, induction could be used for small load short range stuff.

        I'm still laughing at the image of holes in people's bodies. I certainly didn't miss the humor.
      • Induction works great when you are tightly coupled. But induction occurs through an electromagnetic field and the strength falls off with the square of the distance and you just can't transfer that much energy. It gets really lossy.

        It's why power transformers have some kind of core - to help increase the coupling between primary and secondary.
    • by iphayd (170761)
      Solving the "Sim City 2000" problem is simple. A laser fires back from the ground to the satellite. An array of sensors allows the laser to slightly realign the satellite to the receptors. Power is immediately cut if the satellite ever loses contact with the laser.

      Now, a laser may not be the technology that is used, it may just be a less powerful microwave, which would alleviate issues with clouds/airplanes/ducks etc... However, the idea is the same: if the beam is not perfectly aligned the beam won't
  • And a Miss fire can start a fire taking the power plant with it. Pay for the for safer fusion power plant.
  • Much of the limitation on the speed and size of the newer generation of chips is related to the wavelength of light in the lithography process. The race is to use shorter and shorter wavelengths to make smaller and smaller transistors. If you can put this energy into a space 20 times smaller than the wavelength, then Moore's law lives on. Wow, think of the next generation of lithography and chip manufacturing. Anybody converted the tech from microwave to short wavelength light yet? If not, get busy. T
    • There is another limit to Moore's law - as the feature size has shrunk to literally where you can count the atoms in a trace width, diffusion can cause real problems.

      The circuit features literally blur over time and cause failure.

      Another issue is leakage currents. As features get smaller, probabilities that electrons can jump around go up. You also have to lower the voltages used on chip because as things get smaller, the voltage gradients go up. Get them too high and you can literally have arcing ins
  • Okay I claim prior art on "Wireless Wire";

    Been banging on about it for years;

    But it's Heinlen who really gets the award;

    Waldo and Magic inc.;

    Me? I've got a problem with Dark Matter.
  • I'm reminded of the Star Trek episode where they power the M5 supercomputer with a high-intensity wireless power transfer beam at roughly shin level.
  • It was called the Broadcast Energy Transmitter or B.E.T. COBRA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA!
  • Why do I keep having visions of tesla dancing through my head?
  • So wait a second... instead of needing a dish that's 1km in diameter, we'll need a dish that's just 1.5cm in diameter?

    yeah I know the SC2k jokes are old. I tried.
  • Catching up with me? (Score:2, Informative)

    by slack-fu (940017)
    I've had wireless wireless extension cords for YEARS. I can't believe you guys think this is new, here's the site i got mine from. BTW they work great! Wireless extension cords [thinkgeek.com]
  • It claims:

    "No matter how powerful a conventional lens, it cannot focus light down to more than about half its wavelength, the 'diffraction limit'. This limits the amount of data that can be stored on a CD, and the size of features on computer chips."

    Wrong. Modern processors are typically produced on a fab that uses 193 nanometer wavelength extreme ultraviolet light, yet cutting edge chips are using 45 nm feature sizes, about 1/4 the wavelength. According to the article this should be impossible.

    The

  • This tech will most likely be developed? Why? I mean there are 100s of other energy ideas blowing around out there.. Why would this one come to be the first significant major power source since nuclear power?

    Please Google "North American Energy Policy" sometime.
  • by LM741N (258038) on Saturday April 26, 2008 @02:17AM (#23205800)
    Belden http://www.belden.com/ [belden.com] is selling wire.
  • While I heard of space doing a beam down, that assumes that you have a power generator up there. While we are exploring the concept of PV based power generator, it is still some 10-20 years off. But there are other interesting uses for this.
    1. The ability to set up fast power lines here on earth. In particular into a disaster zone. Hurricane (or even another 911) hits and you want to get power in to another location fast. This would do it.
    2. Another use would be military needs. They have power generator and n
  • Tesla (Score:3, Informative)

    by StarfishOne (756076) on Saturday April 26, 2008 @06:58AM (#23206404)
    The name of Nikola Tesla has been mentioned a few times already in this thread.

    I just want to say: if you don't know or barely know something about this man, I really really recommend reading about him.

    He's one of the greatest geniuses of the last few centuries. Called "The Father Of Physics" and "the man who invented the twentieth century".

    Especially the latter is NO understatement. His list of inventions is huge and the combination of genius and being a workaholic (sleeping 3 hours per day) resulted in something over 700 patents on his name. He can even be related to over 1200 patents!

    Although he is sadly barely mentioned in schoolbooks, he is the inventor of things like:

    - The Inductor/AC motor
    - The Tesla Coil
    - The radio (a court ruled he was first, not Marconi!)
    - The AND logical gate
    - Wireless transfer of electricity
    - Tesla turbines (bladeless turbines)
    - X-ray tubes
    - Robotics
    - Fluorescent lamps
    - VTOL aircraft!
    - Polyphase systems
    - Remote control; he had a remote controlled boat in 1898!

    This list is NOT COMPLETE

    See:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikola_Tesla [wikipedia.org]

    And the really big bang is that it's very very likely that he managed to extract free energy from the vacuum/atmosphere.

    Together with two other people, he has been riding a car for a week long... a silent car which had just an antenna system... reaching speeds in the order of 90 miles per hour.

    He really was one of the most extraordinary persons to ever walk on this planet.

    Sadly the problem was that, despite his genius, he was not a great business man. Money was always a problem and basically everyone (Edison, JP Morgan, etc.) tried to make money of this man who was so hard to make this a better world.

    Now why is this man barely recognized for his achievements?

    And why does he not have AT LEAST one Nobel Prize?!?

    Interesting interview:

    The Tesla Conspiracy: Mark DeMucha Part 1 of 11
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzxvhA72vGI [youtube.com]
  • Faraday cages block EM waves by having holes that are smaller than the wavelength of the wave. (This is why your microwave can have little holes that allow you to see in, but keep the radiation from leaking out.) By packing waves into an even smaller space, they would be able to pass straight through a Faraday cage.
  • Do not look at satellite with remaining eye.

When Dexter's on the Internet, can Hell be far behind?"

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