If you use your smartphone a lot, and who doesn't these days, you probably find yourself having to top up the charge whenever you get the opportunity. That can be a real headache, so Korean researchers are developing a way to charge your phone just be being in a room equipped with a powerful, long range wireless charging system.
The team from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) demonstrated the system that consists of two 10-foot long boxes backed with magnetic coils and ferrite rods. Using a technology called Dipole Coil Resonant System (DCRS), the prototype packs enough of a punch to charge 40 cellphones simultaneously, as well as larger devices like portable TVs and laptops. The technology is scalable, so a smaller version could be made for home use. DCRS is a development of technology developed at MIT several years ago called Coupled Magnetic Resonance System, although the Koreans say that the new version is more efficient and has a longer range.
Professor Chun T. Rim from KAIST says that his hope is that wireless charging will soon be as common as Wi-Fi hotspots, and that people will no longer need to worry about finding places to plug in during the day: you'd just have to loiter near one of the base stations, and your phone would pick up a charge. It would also fulfill a dream that electricity pioneer Nikola Tesla had over 120 years ago.
This all sounds wonderful, but there are a few remaining questions that haven't been answered. Getting your phone charged without plugging in is great, but will the magnetic strips on your credit cards be wiped clean in the process? Will Grandpa's pacemaker go on the fritz the moment he walks in the room? And how long before airports figure out a way to charge you for the power that gets sucked up by your phone as you walk through the terminal?