Nikola Tesla was right

Not about everything, but I’ve been reading up on far-field wireless energy transmission and it seems that Tesla was at least right about the possibility. It’s actually way further advanced than I’d previously thought–I knew it was possible to beam electricity, but I was only vaguely aware that it had left the lab. It turns out there are actually several different companies (Ossia, Energous, PowerCast, and Wi-Charge, to name a few) that have produced systems capable of figuring out where a receiver is and beaming power to it.

The biggest obstacle in this case is the FCC. Parts 15 and 18 of FCC Title 47 limit devices’ frequency emissions, both in slightly different ways, but with the net outcome that these devices are limited to a few watts of maximum output (for reference, phone chargers tend to be around 5 watts) each depending on the distance of the power transmisison (though there doesn’t appear to be a restriction on having multiple of these devices in one place). Since it’s a relatively new technology, isn’t really a life-or-death situation (as pharmeceutical approval processes can be), and presents relatively underexplored safety concerns, I don’t have a huge problem with that.

What really grabs me about this is that wireless electricity transmission is so close, and what’s really holding it back from being more exciting (i.e, being on the front page of most major news outlets) is compliance with FCC regulations. I’d only heard about it once or twice before deciding to look into it a little more deeply, and, at least to me, it seems like such a sci-fi technology that I find it hard to believe that it hasn’t gotten more coverage yet. As soon as I realized how advanced it was getting, I was instantly hooked and had to look into it more–but it’s also prompted me to wonder how many more things are happening that haven’t popped in front of my eyeballs yet.

The infoverse is growing exponentially, since it’s essentially a function of human population * technological innovation, and at some point, even the most passionate of infovores has to realize what they’re up against–learning huge amounts of neat stuff has never been so possible, but keeping up with that stuff is getting increasingly difficult.

In other news, Disney Research has also made some wireless power breakthroughs. But that’s frankly less interesting than the fact that I just learned today that Disney Research is a thing. I’m not mad that they haven’t made any talking animals or flying carpets yet–just disappointed.