WiTricity: Powering up without cords, plugs

Jill Barshay Jun 8, 2007

TEXT OF STORY

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Our laptops may be wireless, but we still have to carry around numerous power cords to recharge our phones, laptops and iPods.

However, in an article from the Web site for the journal Science, a group of MIT scientists think they may have found a way to cut the cords. Jill Barshay reports.


JILL BARSHAY: The scientists lit up an unconnected light bulb from seven feet away. No cords, no wires, no joke.

MIT professor Marin Soljacic calls this technology WiTricity. He says electronics makers want to develop it for use in consumer goods.

Marin Soljacic: Like laptops, or cell phones, or iPods or household robots. Basically anything that relies on this battery that is bulky and needs to be recharged often.

Soljacic compares the process to the way an opera singer can shatter glass with a single note.

Luke Hares is an engineer at Cambridge Consultants. He says inventions like WiTricity are too expensive.

Luke Hares: And that price is energy efficiency. If you look at the electricity bill, it will be much higher than the electricity bill needed to run all the individual chargers.

Hares says it would take hours to recharge a battery with WiTricity. He says cords and chargers are here to stay.

In New York, I’m Jill Barshay for Marketplace.

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