Wireless charging-the future is here

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Are cables a thing of the past? Is induction the new Buzzword!

Unless you are particularly organized and good with cable management, you probably have a few dusty power cord tangles around your workplace. You may have even had to follow one particular cord through the seemingly impossible snarl to the outlet, hoping that the plug you pull will be the right one. This is one of the downfalls of electricity. While it can make people’s lives easier and in this fast paced technology driven world we can’t live without it, it can add a lot of clutter in the process.

 

In the workplace, it is the responsibility of the business owner to provide a safe working environment, but also the employees can carry out tasks safely in the vicinity. Employees must be trained to use the equipment correctly to prevent any unnecessary risks. But why is electrical safety considered so important? Electricity is dangerous as you in the trade well know. Electricity always seeks the shortest path to the ground, usually through a conductor; so because the human body is around 70% water, this makes it a suitable route for electricity to take. Thus if a bare, live wire is touched by a human, electricity will pass through that body to the ground causing electrocution as you will know only too well. Electrocution as you know can be mild, depending on the voltage of the object; however a small amount of electricity if passed straight through the heart, even as little as 100-200 milliamps, can kill a human.

 

So with this in mind, scientists have been seeking the holy grail for many years now trying to develop methods of wireless power transmission that could cut the clutter or lead to clean sources of electricity. While the idea may sound futuristic, it isn’t particularly new. You only have to consider the Serbian American inventor and electrical engineer Nicola Tesla who proposed theories of wireless power transmission in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Tesla gained experience in telephony and electrical engineering before immigrating to the United States in 1884 to work for Thomas Edison in New York City. Tesla went on to pursue his ideas of wireless lighting and electricity distribution in his high-voltage, high-frequency power experiments in New York and Colorado Springs and made early (1893) pronouncements on the possibility of wireless communication with his devices. One of his more spectacular displays involved remotely powering lights in the ground at his Colorado Springs experiment station.

 

Tesla’s work was impressive, but it didn’t immediately lead to widespread, practical methods for wireless power transmission. Since then, researchers have developed several techniques for moving electricity over long distances without wires. Some exist only as theories or prototypes, but others are already in use. If you have an electric toothbrush, for example, you probably take advantage of one method every day. The wireless transmission of energy is common in much of the world. Radio waves are energy, and people use them to send and receive cell phone, TV, radio and Wi-Fi signals every day. The radio waves spread in all directions until they reach antennae that are tuned to the right frequency. A similar method for transferring electrical power would be both inefficient and dangerous. For example, a toothbrush’s daily exposure to water makes a traditional plug-in charger potentially dangerous. Ordinary electrical connections could also allow water to seep into the toothbrush, damaging its components. Because of this, most toothbrushes recharge through inductive coupling.

 

With DPG celebrating 10 years in the electrical business, we have now brought in our first Wireless Charging Module for the office, home and public spaces that fit into the standard 80mm grommet. Wireless power transfers electrical energy from a power source (a charging mat or charging spot) to a receiving device. Power transfer occurs without using conductors (i.e. wires), by using a long-known electrical phenomenon – magnetic induction.

 

Blog re-published with the kind permission of CMD Ltd.

 

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