University of Tokyo researchers have developed a new, wireless system for powering up our electronic devices. At the heart of the method is a cuttable, flexible power transfer sheet responsible for the wireless charging. But it’s no ordinary design—the sheet can be molded or cut with scissors to fit surfaces and objects of different shapes.
“I really wish to live in a wireless world,” says Ryo Takahashi of the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology. “Imagine homes and offices without tangled cables, and think how useful it could be for emerging fields like robotics.”
“You can do more than just cut this sheet into fun or interesting shapes. The sheet is thin and flexible so you can mold it around curved surfaces such as bags and clothes. Our idea is anyone could transform various surfaces into wireless charging areas,” continues Takahashi.
The system uses the charger’s conductive coils to induce a current in corresponding coils in the device, a similar feature to existing contactless power chargers. However, the cuttable sheet is thinner than its competitors, and gives users a wider charging area due to the coils’ design. In addition, after a portion of the sheet has been cut, the coils can still charge electronic devices thanks to the way they are wired.
“Currently a 400-mm (15.75-in.) square sheet provides about 2 to 5 W of power, enough for a smartphone. But I think we could get this up to tens of watts or enough for a small computer,” says Takahashi. “In just a few years, I would love to see this sheet embedded in furniture, toys, bags, and clothes. I hope it makes technology more invisible.”
To learn more, read the article, “Cuttable Wireless Power Transfer Sheet,” published in Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable, and Ubiquitous Technologies.