Filed under: Augmented Reality, Connections, Heinlein, Predictions, RFID, Robert A. Heinlein, Science, Science Fiction, tech | Tags: Applied Physics Letters, augmented reality, blogging, broadcast power, EurekAlert, Heinlein, jim downey, metamaterials, microwaves, physics, predictions, RFID, Robert A. Heinlein, science, Science Fiction, technology, ubiquitous computing
Very interesting technology breakthrough: the use of metamaterials to harvest microwave energy and convert it to DC (direct current), with an efficiency on par with the best solar panels. From EurekAlert:
With additional modifications, the researchers said the power-harvesting metamaterial could potentially be built into a cell phone, allowing the phone to recharge wirelessly while not in use. This feature could, in principle, allow people living in locations without ready access to a conventional power outlet to harvest energy from a nearby cell phone tower instead.
“Our work demonstrates a simple and inexpensive approach to electromagnetic power harvesting,” said Cummer. “The beauty of the design is that the basic building blocks are self-contained and additive. One can simply assemble more blocks to increase the scavenged power.”
For example, a series of power-harvesting blocks could be assembled to capture the signal from a known set of satellites passing overhead, the researchers explained. The small amount of energy generated from these signals might power a sensor network in a remote location such as a mountaintop or desert, allowing data collection for a long-term study that takes infrequent measurements.
This is a fundamental breakthrough, and one which will have a lot of applications/implications far beyond just those mentioned above. Consider what you could do with even our current electronics technology if you didn’t need to have access to charge batteries/capacitors. Already many devices are charged through induction, though that has a relatively short-range effect, and the magnetic fields used create their own problems (and are relatively inefficient).
The full pdf (just 4 pages) of the Applied Physics Letters article can be found here.
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