Comments on It Takes a Microwave
commentson 27 April 2003 : 11:27, Michael sez:

We studied this type of transmission in school a bit. Back in the day when a EE degree was broad knoledge of electromagnetics and not so focused on semiconductors.

The critical issues remain:

Broadcast of power is incredibly inefficient. The vast majority of power is never intercepted by a reciever. Directional antennas are workable, but still it comes nowhere close to copper wire.

The effect of large amounts of emag on people, animals, and plants. Many lifeforms rely on electromagnetics for guidance and other tasks. If we blow out so much energy are birds going to know which way to fly in the winter?

Any experiment you can try for yourself is tuning a circuit with a rectifier to turn the existing RF signals into DC current. The principle is simple, but the you don't get a lot of juice. A crystal radio is an example. It gets it's energy to operate from the RF energy itself.

In theory you could build rectifiers into mobile electronics, and they could be charged by the RF already it the air.

commentson 27 April 2003 : 20:33, Joel sez:

How about a battery exchange? Businesses can build exchange stations. You give them your old battery, they give you a charged one. You pay a few cents for the energy. Just an idea I came up with just now; probably impracticle.

As Michael said, messing with the electromagnetic ecosystem is potentially dangerous. And it avoids a larger problem: making devices that use LESS POWER.

commentson 28 April 2003 : 04:06, Antoin O Lachtnain sez:

why not have an electromagnetic mat that you could leave your electronic stuff (or even your bag or coat down on. The stuff would charge up the same way an electric toothbrush does.

commentson 28 April 2003 : 06:09, kurt sez:

I was going to say:

Isn't the idea of so much radiation coursing through the environment just a tad scary?

But the point's been put more eloquently already.

Modest eco-luddite proposal: Cut the cord by cutting out the appliances. True true wireless! Do you NEED them? really?

The best appliance ever: the washing machine. Liberator of women. Crusher of servitude. The only comparable technologies: the locomotive, antibiotics, radio.

commentson 28 April 2003 : 09:29, Brandon Marchand sez:

I've been pondering the idea of buying one of those solar panels for my laptop, they run about $80.00. The drawback for me is it would be useless during my late nights surfing free wifi around Spokane.

commentson 28 April 2003 : 11:00, Michael sez:

Wireless charging of mobile devices is coming soon.

Inductive powering will be a great boon. Get home and toss you phone, PDA, keys, remotes, whatever into the inductive charger and they top off their charge. Cars will have them too, like 12V power outlets, but a part of the dash to place you phone/PDA while driving.

The trouble is that phone mfgs make a great deal of money with all the proprietary accessories that you need to purchase with your free/cheap phone.

They will get dragged into it evetually, but for now they want to charge you $20 for the car charger that costs them 50.

commentson 28 April 2003 : 11:31, Outlandish Josh sez:

Funny you mention Tesla. I was in Boston yesterday, and they had a little one-man (or rather, one-woman) show about his life and rivaly with Edison. Apparently, Telsa was a wild and eccentric figure. Anyway, it was a good show, making use of the massive static electricity generator they have, and concluding with a demonstration of wireless power.

But more realistically for yr mobile computing/communications needs, I think micro fuel cells are going to be the thing.

This company is hooked up with intel. And Toshiba says they'll have something by 2005.

This would also be good news for the much heralded "hydrogen economy": I've heard from many sources that making these little fuel cells could provide revenue and R&D which will make the bigger ones (powering whole buildings/cities etc) far more feasable.

commentson 28 April 2003 : 11:33, Outlandish Josh sez:

Damn these tiny comment boxes!

Link 1:

Link 2:

commentson 28 April 2003 : 12:56, misuba sez:

I'm waiting on iPods with hand cranks.

commentson 7 May 2003 : 06:46, Ethan sez:

Did you see (via BoingBoing) that Swarthmore's McCabe is currently one of only 9 listed free WiFi libraries in Pennsylvania? Thought you would dig it. My name links to the national list. I searched your site for "wifi" to try to comment on the most relevant article.

February 2005 - comments are closed on Thanks.