WiTricity Demos Apple's Wireless iMac Charging Station Concept

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.

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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. iMac charging demo starts at 3 minutes 50 seconds:


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.

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Top Rated Comments

Xero910 Avatar
167 months ago
^ 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.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
arn Avatar
167 months ago
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 (http://www.amazon.com/Hematite-Powerful-Magnetic-Bracelet-Arthritis/dp/B000KE40ZW) to improve their health, so maybe there's a health benefit to Witricity. :)

arn
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
res1233 Avatar
167 months ago
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
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
deannnnn Avatar
167 months ago
The idea of never having to charge/replace batteries in a keyboard/mouse is amazing alone. Throw in wireless charging for my iPhone and iPad? I'm in.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
troop231 Avatar
167 months ago
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
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
troop231 Avatar
167 months ago
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.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)