Disney Research turns a whole room into a wireless charger

Yep, scientists at a branch of the Walt Disney Company called Disney Research have found a way to charge devices on a room-scale without using any wires.

"We introduce quasistatic cavity resonance (QSCR), which can enable purpose-built structures, such as cabinets, rooms, and warehouses, to generate quasistatic magnetic fields that safely deliver kilowatts of power to mobile receivers contained almost anywhere within", they wrote in the journal PLOS ONE.

An experimental demonstration shows that a 54 m3 QSCR room can deliver power to small coil receivers in almost any position with 40% to 95% efficiency. All told, researchers scattered ten devices throughout the room and each received power in any position or orientation.

The room's walls, ceiling, and floor were built with aluminum panels, and a large copper pipe was placed in its center. These can be powered regardless of where they are located inside the room.

The QSCR method involves inducing electrical currents in the metalised walls, floor and ceiling of a room, which in turn generate uniform magnetic fields that permeate the room's interior.

In a paper published to scientific journal PLOS ONE titled "Quasistatic Cavity Resonance for Ubiquitous Wireless Power Transfer", three authors detail their process. The only catch was that the room need to be constructed entirely from metal (aluminium).

Now for the 64,000 dollar question: will being in this room fry your brain? As the authors note in their study, while it is possible to safely transmit 1.9 kilowatts of power to a receiver at 90 percent efficiency (the equivalent of charging 320 devices), due to the amount of unused power stored in the room, the appliances in the space would have to use and receive that much power.

Though the wireless power delivery technology is still in its early stages, Disney researchers believe it can still be further improved to power conventional rooms. The specific absorption rate, a measure of how much energy can be absorbed by the human body, is capped at 1900 watts. One interesting advantage it has over other solutions we've covered is that it can be scaled to size, depending on the application. The next wave of research will look at downscaling the device to power a child's toy chest and to upscale the wave generator to power a warehouse.

  • Arturo Norris