LONDON Justin Rattner, chief technology officer of Intel Corp., has written in his weblog, about the prospects of using wirelessly transmitted energy to power devices such as laptop computers and mobile phones.
Rattner said that technology developed Intel's research lab in Seattle Wireless Resonant Energy Link, or WREL relies on strongly coupled resonators to wirelessly transmit power over several feet with "great efficiency." He stressed that this is research and no decision had been made to come to market.
Rattner added that while there is great enthusiasm for the idea of cutting the electrical cord he also regularly gets emails questioning the safety of such technology. In his blog Rattner explained why he thinks the magnetically-coupled WREL is fundamentally safe but also admitted that at least one emailer had written to Craig Barrett, chairman of Intel, pleading with him not to take WREL to market because of the "low efficiency" of only 75 percent.
Rattner said that he has pointed out to the unnamed correspondent that many energy systems have much lower efficiency. Rattner ended his blog thus: "Society has to choose whether those inefficiencies still have a positive ROI [return on investment] from a convenience and usability point of view. Wireless power will likely force such a decision sometime in the future."
Rattner did not discuss that short-range wireless charging systems, such as those from Splashpower have been in the market for some time. The assets of Splashpower Ltd. (Cambridge, England) were bought out of administration in April 2008 by Fulton Innovation a subsidairy of Alticor Inc. (Ada, Michigan).
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