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Tech Power Roundup

September 18, 2009

Powering devices through the air.


Cordless charging. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Over a hundred years ago, inventor Nikola Tesla tried using electricity sent through the air as a power source. Now engineers at MIT are working on the same idea, and are close to making it a reality. The trick is to tune an electrical field to a specific frequency. The devices to be powered, such as laptop computers or televisions, would have a receiver tuned to that same frequency. The technique is called magnetically coupled resonance. The lab is now working to show that the technology is safe and practical.

In other technology news, scientists at the University of California, Berkeley have developed a tiny laser that can fit on a microchip. The lasers send light along nanowires one thousandth the width of a hair. Circuits that use light instead of electricity could make computers that are smaller and more powerful. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.