Wireless energy promise powers up, says a BBC article that claims that wireless energy transfer is close to practicable. Which would be impressive if it were true (although it might give the anti-wifi campaigners a few more warranted causes for concern than your standard Belkin device currently justifies.)
I probably am too cynical for my own good but I’d have to say this story has less of the ring of truth than the kidney transplant reality show that suckered me last week.
US researchers have successfully tested an experimental system to deliver power to devices without the need for wires.
The setup, reported in the journal Science, made a 60W light bulb glow from a distance of 2m (7ft).
For a start, I am not too impressed by making a lightbulb glow. Don’t some science museums have a display where you can light up a bulb at a distance by using some innate physical property of the gas in the light bulb? (Apologies for the vagueness. Yes, sometimes social science really isn’t a “science” and sometimes you really can’t ask me cos I’m just a girl.) This makes the whole public unveiling seem like a school science fair. (No, we don’t have them in the UK – or didn’t when I was at school – but we do get the Simpsons.)
But then again, maybe it is another example of a physical property that was considered only a toy that turns out to be really useful… I’m thinking of the gyroscope, but maybe the toy came after the engineering thing. OK, table blow-hockey and hovercraft then? Surely they had those tables before the hovercraft?
The BBC site says the news is from an experiment reported in Science. Ever diligent, I looked through a good few days’ news items in Science without finding it. Which is not to say it isn’t there, just that I couldn’t spot it. I looked at the MIT site and it had the “stem cells in mice” article that Science did, but no mention of any amazing new wireless energy transfer experiments.
Maybe this is actually old news and just appears on the BBC today because it’s a slow science day.
(Aside. It bloody must be. They have a totally spurious article saying that cannabis-caused mental health hospital admissions have gone up by 85% since Labour took power. Don’t make me go into the utter nonsense of this one. It merits an entire newspaper full of mocking deconstruction.)
So, with no easy science references to check out the light bulb, I was reduced to going back through the BBC’s own site. And, blow me down with a feather, etc, here’s a reference from November 2006 about the same chap, Assistant Professor Marin Soljacic, announcing that physics is about to solve the resonance issue, as soon as they build a model….
The article has basically the same content as today’s, even down to the same bizarre illustrations, minus the science fair-style lightbulb display..
- Prof Soljacic, in front of an LCD monitor with a garish abstract screen saver – messaging how cutting edge he is;
- a GCSE science-style diagram of two antennaed headsets, with an explanation – this is the bit I understood. However, I saw too many Tomorrow’s World’s to be totally convinced. Please note: I AM STILL WAITING FOR THE JETPACK;
- a lot of wires in a multi-socketplug – so we can find out what plugs in a multisocket look like, in case we’ve never seen one.
- Plus a garishly coloured plug with trailing wire that looks like an artist’s impression of a future wirefree energy provdiing device, until you realise it’s supposed to be a standard plug, lit by someone with only a 1960s lightshow as their illumination.