A group of physicists at MIT have come up with a new model for beaming wireless power to mobile devices, such as computers or cell phones. It promises to do for power, what wireless ethernet hubs do for network connectivity.
I’ve been interested in wireless power ever since I first read the biography of Nikola Tesla in the early 1990’s. Tesla was perhaps the most important inventor of the 20th century — he singlehandedly invented much of what enables the modern electrical power grid today. He also pioneered radio, and many other technologies. But his greatest dream was wireless power. He believed he had discovered a way to beam electricity to any point on earth and embarked on several ambitious projects to test and commercialize his appraoch. But sadly his projects were never completed due to funding problems and interference by competitors and investors who had conflicting business interests. By the end of his life Tesla was a lonely and forgotten man, feeding pidgeons in the park. At his death, many of his lab notebooks were confiscated and classified as Top Secret by the US military — never to be seen again — (and at least some this confiscated information was later used as the foundation for the Star Wars particle beam weaponry program). The greatest electrical genius in history was just too far ahead of his own time.
Tesla’s work has still not been fully understood or replicated today. But what remains unclassified is a treasure trove of invention of great relevance to the world we live in today. In 2003 I blogged an article, called "I Want Wireless Power" outlining why I want this technology. Another great article about this opportunity is here.