Wireless power in the home or office

Nikola Tesla, long after his great invention of a system for AC power, spent much of the rest of his life and much of his money in the unsuccessful pursuit of wireless transmission of power. He wanted to replace power lines. Here's an idea we might call microtesla.

Can we replace power transmission of small amounts of power, e.g. that needed for a computer or an efficient light by electromagnetic radiation of some suitable frequency within a room or perhaps a floor of a building? The frequency, somewhere between UHF and infrared should be able to transmit the desired power without unaffordable losses and without harm to people or pets.

Maybe we can afford quite low energy efficiency if there is overall enough nuclear electric power. A very economical system would power only devices requiring low power. If the device has a low duty cycle, the transmitted power might only suffice to recharge its batteries. The frequency needs to be such that the power isn't absorbed by furniture, walls, or people. Maybe certain materials could not be used in rooms with wireless power.

Safety needs to be assured by extensive testing. Some people will invent risks as Ralph Nader did with microwave ovens. The system might be first introduced in small regions with bold people. Safety might limit the amount of power that can be transmitted. The safe limit would very likely be too low for electric heaters, stoves or toasters, and might be too low for incandescent lights. Probably the frequency should be one not absorbed by the water in humans.

Since I proposed this I have seen other similar proposals.

Up to: Future

Send comments to mccarthy@stanford.edu. I sometimes make changes suggested in them. - John McCarthy

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