The emergence of WiFi was a beautiful thing, but the cable spaghetti that exists behind our PCs and TVs won't truly be a thing of the past until technologies like this turn up...
To the joy of wives and girlfriends around the world, Sony has today announced the development of a new "highly efficient" wireless power transfer system which it claims will eliminate the use of power cables from electronic products such as PCs and televisions.
Raw stats see 60 watts of electrical energy transferred over a distance of up to 50cm with 80 per cent efficiency (60 per cent including rectifier). This isn't a great distance, but in fairness most technology is located extremely near to a mains power socket. Furthermore, this can be increased up to 80cm when combined with 'passive extender units' the company has developed.
"This new wireless power transfer system incorporates a form of contactless electrical energy transmission technology based on magnetic resonance," said an official Sony statement. "With magnetic resonance, electromagnetic energy is only transferred to recipient devices that share the identical resonant frequencies as the energy source, so energy transfer efficiency is maintained, even when misalignment occurs. Furthermore, even if there are metal objects located between the transmitter and receiver, no heat induction occurs."
Naturally the big questions with such exciting technology are 1) Is it safe? and 2) What about real world availability? Sony didn't provide answers to either of those, but since releasing any retail product that was physically harmful would see the company sued into oblivion within minutes, the first point would seem moot by the time of launch. Secondly, the generalities of the release suggest it won't appear for some time. After all, even contact based charging systems as seen with the Palm Pre and Dell Latitude Z are relatively new to market.
Still, if Sony is working on wireless power then inevitably so are many other companies. On the one hand this is good and on the other it suggests we'll launch into (possibly the biggest ever) standards battle in a year or two's time. So don't go binning your cables just yet, but perhaps feel free to give them a threatening glance...