New Intel Tech Allows Users to Wirelessly Recharge Laptop Computers

Dennis Faas's picture

While an unlimited power source has yet to be developed, researchers at Intel are testing new technology that would allow laptop computers and mobile phones to be recharged without having to be plugged in to an electrical socket.

Few people would contest the benefits of using a very mobile laptop computer over a standard desktop PC. But, are notebook computers as versatile as we've been led to believe?

Sure, a laptop can be taken anywhere, but without a battery charger, its power source is limited to only a few hours. The same can be said for other portable electronic devices and mobile phones. Wouldn't it be great if users would never have to recharge another portable device again?

Building upon the advancements made last year by the Massachusettes Institute of Technology, the Intel team was able to illuminate a 60-watt light bulb from an energy source located 3 feet away. The energy was transmitted at 75% efficiency, losing only 25% power in the process, meaning that the light bulb was only slightly dimmer than if the energy source was connected. (Source:

The Intel team also attempted to illuminate the same light bulb from an energy source located 7 feet away, but was only able to transmit the energy at 40% to 45% efficiency. This meant that more power was lost in transmission than was able to reach the bulb, proving that wireless recharging does have boundaries.

Understanding wireless transmission of electricity requires some knowledge of basic physics: separate electric coils resonate at the same frequency and can transmit energy to each other at a given distance. The biggest problem facing researchers: preventing as much energy as possible from escaping while in transmission.

Intel is already promoting a number of modern uses for the technology. They believe that people could one day attach a large transmitter to their wall and install small receivers to nearby tables, chairs and furniture all around the house, thus having their portable devices constantly recharging without the user even realizing it. Of course, the charge will be disconnected as soon as the individual leaves the house. (Source:

These criticisms are not stopping Intel from dreaming of even bigger uses for the technology, like wirelessly powering pacemakers and artificial hearts, though the company admits to having a number of problems to address before commercializing the technology for home use.

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