Apple's Interest in WiTricity Wireless Charging

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported in passing that Apple was experimenting with "a new way of charging" the 2012 iPhone. Like our readers, our thoughts instantly went to some sort of wireless charging mechanism.

    Of course, wireless charging isn't a new technology though the current implementations of it have been somewhat limited. The original Palm Pre launched with an induction charger which allows users to charge their device when it is laid on a special charging mat. The disadvantages of such inductive chargers is the need for near physical contact in order for the power to be transferred as well as heat/power limitations.


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    A 2007 startup company called WiTricity, however, has been working on some significant advances in wireless electricity that has gotten the attention of much of the industry including Apple. WiTricity is based on the research from MIT's labs where scientists showed a new method for transferring larger amounts of power wirelessly over more practical distances (up to a couple of meters) than traditional induction.
    WiTricity has already received a significant amount of industry attention. The CEO of WiTricity demoed the technology at TED in 2009. Intel has been experimenting with the technology in their labs. Toyota has even collaborated with and invested in the company to develop automotive wireless charging systems.

    The link to Apple comes by way of a international patent application from Apple called "Wireless power utilization in a local computing environment." The application was first published in May of this year and specifically details the same resonance technology and refers to the original paper published by the MIT researchers.

    Apple describes a scenario where your iMac could be the source of this resonance power to provide a virtual charging area in front of your computer. Keyboards, mice and even mobile electronic devices like the iPhone or iPad could be charged simply be being in a 1 meter proximity to your computer. In typical Apple fashion, they describe that "by doing away with clumsy and annoying cables and eliminating the need to replace batteries, an easy to use and efficient local computing environment can be provided to the user."

    The technology is said to be safe, relying on magnetic fields. WiTricity CEO is seen above presenting the technology at the 2009 TED and even shows it wirelessly powering a modified Apple iPhone.

    Of course, Apple patent applications are only occasionally predictive of the company's plans, but in light of rumors of Apple experimenting with "a new way of charging", we thought this particular technology (which is already on Apple's radar) was interesting enough to highlight.

    Article Link: Apple's Interest in WiTricity Wireless Charging
  2. alectheking macrumors 6502a

    Mar 9, 2010
  3. sunspot42 macrumors regular


    Aug 7, 2007
    How Tesla

    When do we get broadcast power stations, like in Gamma World?
  4. Javik macrumors regular

    Mar 26, 2011
    If it wont affect our health, this is definitely the future!
  5. -Ken- macrumors regular

    Mar 1, 2011
    Oregon, USA
  6. wmukj macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2010
    MI -we got lakes! I am not near any of them.
    I think everything does these days anyways, why not have something cool killing you. :D
  7. Papajohn56 macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2005
    Wonder if this is safe at all for people with pacemakers.
  8. awal1987 macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2008
    I am all for this but...

    I dont like the idea of having something like this always using power. That would make your power bill jump like crazy. That would be awesome to have on under your desk, so when i set my trusty MBP and Droid (that's right, a Droid) they would charge. I could turn the unit on and off as needed to save power.
  9. Michael383 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2011
  10. Jowl macrumors 6502

    Apr 13, 2006
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8F190 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Hasn't Tesla already done this? Perhaps Apple bought his patents ;)
  11. midnightMachine macrumors member

    Jul 21, 2009
    You know, it seems cool and all, but it Florida (and other places I am told) we have a name for 'wireless electricity''s called lightning.. and it likes to start fires and kill people when they get too close. :rolleyes:
  12. MattInOz macrumors 68030


    Jan 19, 2006
    I'd rather have batteries than enough magnetic flux coming out of the ceiling to power a TV.

    I do realize that Apple is more looking at very short range low power but still I'm sitting within 1m range for 10+hours a day. Our bodies have evolved to cope with a fairly solid daily does of lots of stuff but as I understand it most naturally occurring radiation is pretty random and the jury is still out on the long term effects of made-man modulated radiation.

    Plus is it really that hard to deal with the odd cable or battery change?
  13. batchtaster macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2008
    Uh-oh. Looks like my tumor's going to get bigger. Oh well.
  14. hms84 macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2007
  15. goobot macrumors 603


    Jun 26, 2009
    long island NY
    If i walk by after coming out of the shower will i be electrocuted? :eek: /sarcasm

    Seems like very cool tec, as far as i can see the wireless part has to do with magnetic stuff right? That shouldn't effect you health if true.
  16. talkingfuture macrumors 65816


    Dec 4, 2008
    The back of beyond.
    Read an article about this in wired a while ago. Could have a lot of potential.
  17. res1233, Jul 11, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2011

    res1233 macrumors 65816


    Dec 8, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    I really want this. Imagine having all your computer peripherals connected via Bluetooth, and powered via WiTricity. I can see Apple as being an early adopter of this tech.

    Well that settles it. You're just grasping. I don't enjoy having conversations with ignorants. You just said that Apple is "barely" ahead to defend your view that Apple is behind, at least that's how I read it. Try again please.

    Edit: Sorry, not sure how to combine posts via this rather outdated mobile interface you guys have set up...
  18. dethmaShine macrumors 68000

    Apr 13, 2010
    Into the lungs of Hell
    I bet it will be on Android before it stops to lag. You can count on that.
  19. 4np macrumors 6502a


    Feb 23, 2005
    The Netherlands
    Sounds like you won't be able to reliably use your built in compass in the near future in your own house, or in densely populated areas...

    While an interesting technology, I'm a bit skeptical towards the idea of transmitting the energy to power your home appliances using magnetic fields throughout your living room... They say it is safe, but so did the people who made or produced DDT, Asbestos or Thalidomide....
  20. partyBoy macrumors 68000


    Nov 8, 2009
  21. res1233 macrumors 65816


    Dec 8, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Everything is safe until they discover otherwise, so it is very hard to say. However, magnetic fields are not likely to cause any harm due to the fact that the earth is a giant electromagnet. I think it's safe.
  22. Man4allsea macrumors newbie

    Sep 2, 2008
    Dumb and dangerous

    The idea of exposing people all over to magnetic fields is about the dumbest idea I ever heard of.
    The idea the because we can't observe the effect, that it doesn't exist, is also stupid.
    I am a physician who frequently works with high magnetic fields, that are tuned to the body, we induce currents in people. you can feel it. This is not proven safe, and needs many decades of research to prove it won't hurt us, specifically unborn children whose rapidly dividing cells are particularly susceptible to all sorts of perturbations.
    We should learn to live with the petty inconveniences of hiding wires.
  23. Jerome Morrow macrumors 6502a

    Jerome Morrow

    Jun 13, 2011
    United Kingdom
    You are exposed to magnetic fields every day.
  24. CFreymarc Suspended

    Sep 4, 2009
    Someone beat me to it. Yes, Tesla had broadcast power going a hundred years ago. In fact he has an electric car running off broadcast power. People were baffled when no one could see any power supply in the car and just an electric motor and an "odd antenna" that was taking the power out of the air. The biggest problem with broadcast power is efficiency and monetary exchange.

    First, when you broadcast energy, a lot is dropped off the square of the distance between the transmitter and the source.

    Second, if you think neighbors stealing WiFi access is bad, how about them tapping your power supply? While you can encrypt WiFi access, you cannot encrypt raw power coming out of a source. Any good autotuner can find the harmonic and run off that.

    IMO, this is not going to go far and I'm amazed so many are trying to bring this back.
  25. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    You forgot how they implemented Blu-ray and USB 3.0, as well as esata ports. My personal favorite though, is that I can use IR to print directly to my printer, just my placing my laptop in front of it.
    Now you're just cherry-picking what is advanced technology, as opposed to obsolite technology.

    Back on topic..

    I don't like this. Sure the earth is a giant electromagnet, but our bodies have evolved to coexist with it. There's research that honey-bees get disoriented by magnetic waves, and the honey-bee brain isn't so different from the human brain. Additionally, there's a report floating around there that trees are effected by Wi-Fi (a sort of electromagnetic wave) routers.

    Should I go on? Human's get a less-rested sleep when they sleep next to their cellphone. When 2 humans sleep next to each other, their sleep patters can match up. Researchers even found that you can increase performance of math tests by subjecting the brain to intense magnetic radiation.

    I for one will pass on our wireless-charging overlords.

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271 July 10, 2011