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Old 03-26-2007, 12:35 PM   #1
NatCh
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Powercast

I saw this in PopSci last night, but they won't let me to a web version of their write up, so here's one at c|net, which is a better write up anyway, and they have a video!

What is it? It's a way to power small electronic devices wirelessly, via RF energy.
Quote:
Powercast isn't just a replacement for a universal charger. Instead, it's meant to either continuously charge a battery or replace the need for them altogether.

It works like this: a transmitter can be placed anywhere--in a lamp, for example, that is plugged into the wall and sits on a table. The transmitter in the lamp sends out a continuous, low RF signal. Anything with either AA or AAA batteries set within its range--and equipped with a Powercast receiver, which is the size of your fingernail--will be continuously charged.

"Our solution is, if talk time (on a cell phone) is 5 1/2 hours, by trickle-charging (it) at work, now talk time is 10 hours because the battery never gets to dead," John Shearer, CEO of Powercast, said in an interview.
Here's a link to Powercast's site for those who want more details.
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Old 03-26-2007, 05:09 PM   #2
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My my my, time flies, almost April, isn't it?
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Old 03-26-2007, 05:24 PM   #3
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Why, so it is. But I only ran across it yesterday, in the April issue of Popular Science, as it happens.
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Old 03-26-2007, 07:16 PM   #4
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I saw this talked about by quite a few reporters at this year's CES. The verdict was that it actually works. I imagine that it isn't very efficient, but the convenience is more important in this application.

There was a second company that had something similar but needed more specialized equipment. This one could be retrofitted to existing electronics.
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Old 03-27-2007, 06:02 AM   #5
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yeah; sounds hideously wasteful to me; especially all the drives that are being made to conserve electricity at the moment (at least in my country).
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Old 03-27-2007, 11:10 AM   #6
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Probably causes cancer in rats!
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Old 03-27-2007, 12:07 PM   #7
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Reminds me of Slashpower of whom I haven't heard much in the last two years. However, they have a nice external news page linking to articles on wireless charging: http://www.splashpower.com/Press/News.html
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Old 03-27-2007, 12:26 PM   #8
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Yeah, I was reminded of that too, but I think the SlashPower approach is more of a direct inductive coupling thing (like those Sonicare toothbrush things), whereas this is an actual power transmission approach.

The PopSci article theorized that the approach might one day allow your cell to charge, or just plain run, off of the stray EMF transmissions that are all around us all the time. That would be extremely interesting. Hey, maybe they can make something that runs directly off of cosmic radiation ... or even straight off of radioactivity, so that we could have 'nuclear' power without all that messy fission/fusion bother.


Quote:
Originally Posted by slayda
Probably causes cancer in rats!
It probably does, but those rats they use for that sort of thing are genetically modified to get cancer if you look at them cross-eyed (I guess the theory is that if you can cure cancer in them, you can really cure it), and you probably have to duct-tape the rats directly to the base-station (of course the duct-tape adhesive will also give them cancer, and so will the metal of the base station, and the nitrogen in the air they breathe, and ....).
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Old 03-27-2007, 09:02 PM   #9
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Waste in the name of convenience. Inefficient in the extreme with the potential to be left on and running without serving a purpose. What we gain in switching to LED light technology gets canceled by this concept.
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Old 03-27-2007, 09:16 PM   #10
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I'm pretty sure it's not the most efficient method, but we don't have any actual numbers, as far as I know. Besides, we have to figure out how to do things at all, before we can figure out how to do them efficiently. For instance, LED's didn't start out as an efficient means of lighting -- look how far we've come from the very first diodes to the current crop of computers, for instance.

For now, I'm willing to reserve judgment, until I know more details, and also to watch it in the future, regardless, to see how far it goes.
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Old 10-07-2007, 01:08 PM   #11
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Here is a good site explaing how it works.

http://www.powercasttechnology.com
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Old 10-08-2007, 01:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachdude View Post
Here is a good site explaing how it works.

http://www.powercasttechnology.com
Actually the site makes a huge number of claims but actually explains very little.

I actually had a radio that used a forerunner of this technology about 20 or 30 years ago. It had two tuners. One you tuned to the most powerful radio station in your area for power and the other you tuned to the radio station you wanted to listen to. Of course it was only earphone capable.

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