WiTricity Demos Apple's Wireless iMac Charging Station Concept

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Apr 12, 2001
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A couple of new Apple patent applications were revealed today, including an incredibly impractical one that demonstrates using your iPod headphones for inductive charging. Apple has researched inductive charging in the past, though it comes with some major limitations.

As we've covered before, Apple has also researched alternative options such as WiTricity's magnetic resonance charging technology. 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.




Apple's previous research into this technology suggested that your desktop computer could be used as a wireless charging hub for devices in its immediate proximity:
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."
WiTricity must have been following along, as they've posted this video showing how their wireless technology works and even set up a working model of exactly what Apple was describing. Watch from 3 minutes 50 seconds on:


WiTricity works on the concept of magnetic resonance where a magnetic field is being alternated in the source device to affect the target devices. Charging can occur over several meters. The technology is said to be safe and is being designed to meet applicable safety regulations. See our previous coverage for more information.

Article Link: WiTricity Demos Apple's Wireless iMac Charging Station Concept
 
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mac1984user

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Dec 10, 2009
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I'm not sure about this. There doesn't seem to be much of a real benefit to this little 'power pad', but others might feel differently about it. It would be much better if a pad wasn't necessary and the power just emanated from the computer, which is what they've done here. Just don't know how it will work in the real world. Who knows how that would work and what signals it would screw up (speakers, etc)? Anyway, it won't stop Apple checking this technology out, I reckon. It's still pretty friggin' amazing.
 
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arn

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Apr 9, 2001
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I'm not sure about this. There doesn't seem to be much of a real benefit to this little 'power pad', but others might feel differently about it. Anyway, it won't stop Apple checking this technology out, I reckon. Hmm..
Watch from 3:50 on.

arn
 

res1233

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Dec 8, 2008
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Did he really just hold down the power button to turn the computer off?... God I hate people who do that. Then they complain about problems a month later likely due to corruption caused by dirty shutdowns... Oh well. :p
 

bigcat318

macrumors 6502
Dec 25, 2007
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I've been wanting this set up for awhile. Although I originally pictured it with a tv instead of a computer, powering Blu-ray, DVR, xbox, etc.

They say it is safe, but my cautious side thinks it will give me undiscovered forms of cancer.
 

mac1984user

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Dec 10, 2009
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Watch from 3:50 on.

arn
Thanks for that. I edited my original post to reflect my new viewpoint. It's an interesting concept and the technology baffles me. I just hope we've not jumped onboard something too quickly. That said, no one is really worried about wifi signals scrambling our brains, so perhaps this is 'fine' too. =)
 

Clive At Five

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May 26, 2004
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Neat vid...

...but it's giving me motion sickness!

Did he really just hold down the power button to turn the computer off?... God I hate people who do that. Then they complain about problems a month later likely due to corruption caused by dirty shutdowns... Oh well. :p
Or did he just put it to sleep?
 

erohloff

macrumors newbie
Aug 1, 2011
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Even though it's really cool... I would learn toward the side of this not happening...

Apple appears to be moving toward "the cloud" to store files, rendering the need to own a computer along with an ipad, iphone, and/or ipod obsolete. In terms of the consumer focus; why own a computer If you don't need a it; why buy one just to be used as a charging station for another divice?
 

Xero910

macrumors member
Oct 8, 2003
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^ Computers aren't going away anytime soon. The cloud has nothing to do with this. Computers are necessary for work. Mobile devices aren't a replacement, rather a new category.


This stuff is truly amazing. No more batteries, just charging the devices automatically when in use. This could be amazing for gaming consoles and wirelessly controllers. Obviously keyboards, mice, phones, tablets.

I'm very anxious to see this put in real products.
 

troop231

macrumors 603
Jan 20, 2010
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Even though it's really cool... I would learn toward the side of this not happening...

Apple appears to be moving toward "the cloud" to store files, rendering the need to own a computer along with an ipad, iphone, and/or ipod obsolete. In terms of the consumer focus; why own a computer If you don't need a it; why buy one just to be used as a charging station for another divice?
Apple will still make/sell computers as long as there is an App Store and developers. How else do you think we make iOS apps?!

I'm definitely a fan for wireless charging without the need for Powermat garbage, etc in the form of a case. This and 802.22 WiFi will be pretty cool someday.
 

coolspot18

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Aug 16, 2010
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Is there any cancer risk to these new wireless charging technologies? Seems a bit unsafe to have so much energy wirelessly radiating around you.
 

troop231

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Jan 20, 2010
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Is there any cancer risk to these new wireless charging technologies? Seems a bit unsafe to have so much energy wirelessly radiating around you.
It's just as safe as going outside swimming in tons of RF spectrum...

GPS/satellite signals, CDMA, iDEN, HAM, CB, WiFi, GSM are around us whether we like it or not. :D
 

arn

macrumors god
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Is there any cancer risk to these new wireless charging technologies? Seems a bit unsafe to have so much energy wirelessly radiating around you.
there was a lot of debate about this in the previous thread.

I guess we'll have to see. It's not "energy" that's being radiated. It's a magnetic fields that are alternated. Magentic fields have generally been considered safe (though some people debate that).

In fact, people even wear magnets to improve their health, so maybe there's a health benefit to Witricity. :)

arn
 

res1233

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Dec 8, 2008
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Brooklyn, NY
Is there any cancer risk to these new wireless charging technologies? Seems a bit unsafe to have so much energy wirelessly radiating around you.
There is no "energy". It's just magnetism, so it shouldn't have any cancerous effects. The question is wether or not it could effect nerve impulses which are electrochemical.
 
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Snarkicist

macrumors newbie
Jul 22, 2011
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Goodbye wires!

Anyone following Apple can predict a few things about the next generation of XYZ by saying it will be thinner, lighter, faster, stronger, and have a longer battery life (if applicable).

I would imagine that Steve Jobs and Jon Ive's perfect iMac either has no cables at all or makes a concession to Thunderbolt (or transmits Thunderbolt signals via laser beams negating the need for a cable).

The ability to sync and charge wirelessly would be awesome, and I would guess few of their competitors are working on this. (They're probably trying to figure out how to build a tablet and only charge $500 for it.)
 

jclardy

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Oct 6, 2008
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Is there any cancer risk to these new wireless charging technologies? Seems a bit unsafe to have so much energy wirelessly radiating around you.
It uses a magnetic field. Since the Earth itself is magnetized you can't exactly get away from magnetism.

Of course a strong localized magnetic field may cause health issues, but I doubt there have been many studies as the effects would probably take years to develop if there are any.

EDIT: Also wondering about HDD's...I wonder how strong the magnetic field is and whether it would require a solid state disk to be used in the machine...
 

longofest

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Jul 10, 2003
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It's just as safe as going outside swimming in tons of RF spectrum...

GPS/satellite signals, CDMA, iDEN, HAM, CB, WiFi, GSM are around us whether we like it or not. :D
Except that this operates at much higher wattage. The signals that you mention all operate at a signal gain of less than 1 watt. I believe this is talking about signal gains many times that of cell phones and the like.
 

Digitalclips

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Mar 16, 2006
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I think it is just a matter of time before Apple release peripherals that are charged this way. In a few years we will look back and laugh at having to change batteries in mice and keyboards.
 
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