WiT3300 evaluation kit (via Witricity)
When we think of the wireless transmission of energy, we typically think of Tesla and his giant iconic coil sparking electric discharge. The idea he had was to bring wireless energy to every part of the world that could be used to power everything from trains to airships. Fast-forward a hundred years or so and the idea of transmitting wireless power has been realized but on a much smaller scale. Instead of providing wireless power to the world, we can now recharge our mobile devices and electric vehicles wirelessly using inductive charging pads and stations. One of the leading companies in providing solutions in wireless recharging, MIT offshoot WiTricity, has been developing induction technology since 2005 to provide a viable, efficient charging solution to consumers.
Their technology utilizes magnetic induction resonators that are capable of transmitting power of up to several kilowatts over large distances (think centimeters to several meters), which might not sound like much but for the applications they were conceived, it’s more than enough. They have succeeded in their developmental efforts by producing some of the most widely used charging devices currently on the market, including the WiT-3300 self-charging system for EVs, the WiT-5000 kit form mobile devices and the WiT-2000/M development kit. The company has recently collaborated with Toyota to provide a wireless recharging solution into a new hybrid vehicle set to be released sometime in 2016 in an effort to improve battery life and gain increased mileage.
As a testament to the efficiency of their technology, WiTricity was recently awarded a contract in partnership with Protonex to supply soldiers with a reliable wireless charging platform that would reduce the number of batteries needed to power radios, field PCs and other electronic components. One scenario envisions soldiers wearing a single battery pack incorporated into the soldiers armor vest to power all of the devices needed. A vehicle-mounted magnetic induction system would recharge the battery every time the soldier sits in one of the vehicles seats. While we may not be at the level of sending power wirelessly on a scale envisioned by Tesla, engineers have been making great strides in gaining distances (however small) while maintaining efficiency without power loss. Hopefully, we will see more in this area soon.
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