Are you tired of having so many chargers for different devices? At the ITMO University in Russia they developed a new concept of universal wireless charger for several devices at the same time. It is a ‘smart table’ that can be expanded in the future to a room or even a surface to charge electric cars.
There are many manufacturers of portable electronic devices and not all use the same power transfer standard, so we often have to use special chargers for different devices.
“Originally, it is a concept of smart table. I put several mobile devices on the table at the same time and they charge. We were thinking of making it work on the same frequency, but then we realized that there were different standards and we started to study the use of metamaterial to provide multiple frequencies. And we found a solution that we talked about in our publication “, says in an interview with Sputnik Polina Kapitánova, doctor in Technical Sciences and principal investigator of the Department of Physics and Technology of the ITMO University, one of the authors of the work recently published en Applied Physics Letters.
© Photo: Courtesy of Mingzhao Song
ITMO University Scientists Universal Wireless Charger Concept
The big tech giants are also working on wireless systems capable of charging multiple devices at the same time. But unlike other developments, the ITMO scientists applied a new solution: the use of metamaterial as part of the system’s transmitter.
“The main novelty is that we suggest using a metamaterial resonator instead of a simple spiral coil that is used as a transmitter in many standard systems,” said Polina Kapitánova.
The new concept provides some benefits in use, the developers say. For example, the metamaterial resonator provides multiple frequencies with an evenly distributed magnetic field, in which energy can be transmitted. This will allow charge multiple devices at the same timesuch as a mobile phone, tablet, smart watch, headset, etc. At the same time, the devices can be from different manufacturers.
In addition to domestic use, the universal charging surface can be used in industry, where a large number of sensors are used that must be charged in time and are difficult to access. Among other things, the concept can be applied in the medicine and to load electric cars.
“The uniqueness of our technology is that we can charge multiple devices at different frequencies. This is one of the advantages of our system. Usually, you can buy a product with a fixed operating frequency on the market. (…) The goal of our work is to move towards a universal battery charger that can be adapted to different frequencies to meet different standards “, explains another author, Mingzhao Song, PhD in Physics and Mathematics and associate researcher at the Faculty of Physics and Technology of the ITMO, in an interview with Sputnik.
The scientist points out that the design is quite simple and consists of parallel metal conductors connected by capacitors, which are also cheap.
“So the concept is ready, it works,” says Mingzhao Song.
Development is still in the concept phase, but in the next year scientists plan to have a prototype. At the moment, it is a smart table that measures around 1m x 80cm to cover a standard desk or table in a restaurant.
“People go to a restaurant to eat, leave the phone on the table, as usual, and the meal lasts an hour and a half. And meanwhile, their phones are not downloading, but on the contrary, they are charging. people are talking or eating. In this sense, the loading speed is not very important, but the idea is that the load is not lost during the day “, says Polina Kapitánova.
Also, developers are studying the possibility of offering their loader shaped like a yoga mat.
“It will be possible to roll it up quickly, store it or take it with you, for example, to go to the field,” he explains.
Scientists are working on making the new device transmit more power and charge more gadgets.
In the future, it will be possible extend the charger to cover a room where a wall or ceiling becomes meta-surfaces capable of charging multiple devices that are close to them. Of course, as long as it is completely safe so that a person can be in this room without putting themselves in danger.
Forecasts on safety, meanwhile, are already very optimistic. The developers hope that their charger will be several times more secure than other devices of this type.
“One of the key points of our design is that we can hide the electric field within the structure of the metamaterial resonator and, at the same time, maintain an intense magnetic field. And it is the electric field that can harm a person, “says Mingzhao Song.
According to Polina Kapitanova, they have managed to find “an elegant solution to suppress the electric field” that will provide a high level of security for your universal charger.