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Going wireless

July 23, 2009
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the future of power, represented in a really boring diagram

the future of power, represented in a really boring diagram

I remember when I got my first laptop with built-in WiFi. It was a Dell Latitude, the first one with a Celeron processor, and I think the first Dell notebook with wireless capability. I thought I was so awesome, walking around the house, looking at websites on Internet Explorer 5, when the rest of my family had to sit and look at AltaVista and AOL on desktops like suckers. Even though I couldn’t go anywhere outside of my house (as there weren’t too many wifi hotspots in London in 2002), I felt so free. Now that many people have internet-capable smartphones, or netbooks, or even laptops with long-lasting batteries, we’re all pretty used to being able to check the web whenever we want, for a few hours at least. Unfortunately, we’re still shackled by one wire in 2009; the power cable. There have been a few decent attempts in recent years to create a method for wirelessly transmitting power, and a new US company thinks they might’ve struck gold this time. Witricity has shown off its new system that involves electromagnets that can transmit power up to 5m (16ft) away. In theory, if every room in the country had these, we could power all our gadgets (also fitted similar magnets) all the time, wherever you were, wirelessly. Apparently, safety isn’t an issue either, as humans are “non-magnetic in nature”, but considering all the extra electromagnetic activity that we face every second with wifi networks, cellphones, radios and whatnot, I guess even more bombardment can’t hurt. Hopefully.

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