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Power Cellphones Handhelds Hardware

Fujitsu Eyes Wireless Gadget Charging For 2012 158

Posted by timothy
from the don't-cross-the-streams dept.
angry tapir writes "Researchers at Fujitsu Laboratories have developed a wireless charging system that they say can simultaneously charge a variety of portable gadgets over a distance of several centimeters without the need for cables. The system, which will be detailed at a technical conference in Japan this week, could begin appearing in mobile phones and other products as soon as 2012, the company said. Fujitsu's system is based on magnetic resonance in which power can be wirelessly sent between two coils that are tuned to resonate at the same frequency."
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Fujitsu Eyes Wireless Gadget Charging For 2012

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  • Re:Efficiency (Score:3, Interesting)

    by siddesu (698447) on Monday September 13, 2010 @01:22AM (#33558602)

    With "Fujitsu" as the maker, the standard question is "how much skin will they want from me".

    It will be small, efficient and maybe even work, but it won't be cheap enough to make sense to buy.

    At least the Japanese model.

    / Yes, I have a few Loox notebooks.

  • by OBeardedOne (700849) on Monday September 13, 2010 @01:57AM (#33558738) Homepage

    I thought wireless power looked fantastic until I took a closer look at what you are actually getting. You can't just chuck your phone on the wireless charger pad and have it magically charge the phone. You need to either add a special "sleave" to the product you want to charge wirelessly or actually plug the product into the charge pad using various adapters which completely negates any real benefit from "wireless" power.

    So for gadgets that currently are not "wireless power" enabled the tech kinda sucks and it is being overhyped in a major way - at least based on the product packaging and in-store displays that I've seen. It will be interesting to see if it takes off when manufacturers find a way to seamlessly incorporate this into new devices

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday September 13, 2010 @02:19AM (#33558808)

    A lot of devices use USB charging already so a lot of people have a charger (or more than one). It also has the advantage that any computer is a charger by default, so even if you don't have a dedicated charging unit, you can still charge your device. I charge my phone off my laptop when I travel, so I only have to bring the laptop's cord. Also, USB is a nice, standard data interface. Means that in the event the device needs data, you don't need another port.

    My smartphone, my Logitech remote, our camera at work, and so on all charge from, and communicate by, USB and it is really nice.

    To me, wireless charging seems stupid since it is extremely range limited. You can't have wireless charging as in "I have a charger in my kitchen and devices everywhere in the house charge." The pesky inverse square law bites that in the ass. It is something where they have to be close to touching. Ok well that just means instead of plugging in your device, you instead plug in a charger, and then set your device on it. Oh yay, that is so much better... Or not.

    We just have to accept the fact that wires are here to stay for many things, power being the biggest one. You can't effectively convey power over anything other than an extremely short distance without a wire. Makes all wireless charging very silly if you asked me.

    I mean think about it in relation to data. The reason I have a wireless AP is because that one AP lets me use my laptop anywhere in my house. I can roam around and get data at the same rate no matter what. That makes it worth having. However say rather than that, it was a little unit that had to connect to wired Ethernet and your laptop had to sit right next to it to get data. You could move an inch or two at most before losing signal. Would you bother? I wouldn't, I'd just connect the wire directly. It wouldn't save me any hassle to have to set the laptop right next to something connected to a wire over just connecting the wire itself.

  • by OBeardedOne (700849) on Monday September 13, 2010 @02:31AM (#33558842) Homepage

    As a follow on to my earlier post, this is the clincher for the tech - from the article:

    "Fujitsu's system couples a coil with a capacitor in receiving devices. The size of the device determines the size of coil it can accommodate and that in turn affects the capacitance."

    So the bigger the coil in the receiving device the better. That aint going to go down so well for mobile phones, ipods etc where the size of the battery/power supply is absolutely crucial to the success of the product i.e. smaller is better. If it doesn't make sense for the mobile market then it won't be anything more than a niche product for the foreseeable future. Particularly when the benefit hardly comes close to outweighing the cost - really, how hard is it to plug a phone in?

  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Monday September 13, 2010 @03:27AM (#33559004)

    Funny, since the concern not long ago was making wall warts more efficient (switching ones did a good job on that) and working on reducing "leaky" devices like TVs and monitors that don't turn fully off (my NEC has a hard off switch for that reason). But now we can lose any and all those gains with an inefficient transfer system.

    Why would you need your desktop computer or TV to have wireless power? I'd expect this would be useful mainly for mobile devices or things that for some reason or another need power but can't have a battery or wires. The "powerpad" that's out right now which is technically wireless is marketed as a convinient charging station for your cell phone, handheld gaming systems, camera ETC. With that, you have to set the thing right on top of the charging station, but 15 cm isn't that far either, it's probably not going to replace all cords anytime soon.

  • by Twinbee (767046) on Monday September 13, 2010 @03:41AM (#33559046) Homepage

    In other related news, they've kept up a model helicopter in the air by transferring power by laser:

    http://www.brahmand.com/news/Mini-helicopter-flies-using-laser-power/4824/3/13.html [brahmand.com]

    Because of the inverse cube law for wireless power transfer, I think we'll ultimately be using this kind of laser technology in future, fitted to house ceilings and street lamps. If blocking obstacles become an issue, then the receiving device can also send a purely informational laser back to the source to make sure that it's okay to beam the power laser at it, and in this case the initial source power laser can be instantly shut off, similar to those 'SawStop' table saws that shut off in milliseconds if the hand gets in the way to prevent loss of fingers.

  • by kieran (20691) on Monday September 13, 2010 @04:30AM (#33559256)

    It's about time we started seeing waterproof phones and e-readers, and if the power is wireless and communication is wireless, there shouldn't be many more barriers to this.

  • by Maury Markowitz (452832) on Monday September 13, 2010 @06:23AM (#33559628) Homepage

    > magnetic resonance which is an entirely different physical process

    Hmmm. You're going to have to explain to me, a physicist, exactly what you think the difference between magnetic induction and magnetic resonance is, aside from the name. I'm all ears.

  • Magnetic resonance (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kurt555gs (309278) <kurt555gs@o v i .com> on Monday September 13, 2010 @06:35AM (#33559670) Homepage

    People that live near high tension towers have put up coils to suck up stray power for years. The power companies frown on this, but my feeling is that it makes up for shortening peoples lives because of living next to these things.

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