Innovations in wireless power transfer: the future is now!

Wireless power transfer model data with Opera simulation software

Download 9 wireless power transfer cases (PDF)
Eindhoven, Netherlands – Innovation is often an incremental process. But sometimes a technology comes of age that enables great leaps forward. An example of this is wireless power transfer (WPT) – a breakthrough that is not actually ‘new’, but which is only now starting to reach its potential to completely transform the way devices and equipment are powered.

There are enormous advantages to products that work on wireless electricity. Just imagine what would be possible if you could transfer power through walls and windows without needing any outlets, cords or connections. Picture an operating table that can be cleaned much easier because the surface is completely sealed. Think about supplying power to a rotating object like a wheel: with wireless electricity, there are no wires to tangle or break, and no slip contacts to wear out.

The ways in which wireless power transfer could improve design and make products smarter, smaller and more effective – both in function and cost – are almost endless.

At Philips Innovation Services, Aditya Mehendale, a technology expert in the field of electromechanics and mechatronics, has been deeply involved in exploring the exciting application possibilities of this technology. He is happy to give a behind-the-scenes look of their work. But first, a quick look at how it fits in with the world of power we know today.

The invention of wireless power transfer

Inventor and engineer Nikola Tesla, ‘the man who invented the 20th century’ theorized about wireless electricity back in the 1890s. He even demonstrated the principle by lighting up glass tubes with wireless power transmission. This idea was completely revolutionary, but – unlike Tesla’s other inventions in the fields of electric transmission and electromagnetic machines – it was never developed for commercial purposes.

The age of the power cord

At that time, the up-and-coming technology was to transfer electrical power from source to receiver with wires – and that became the common standard. All electrical devices needed the classic power cord to operate, and it had to be plugged in to access electricity. But we didn’t allow ourselves to be tied down by the power cord for too long. Over the past few decades, rechargeable cordless devices have become omnipresent. But in order to recharge these devices, an electrical contact still has to be made.

Wireless charging applications

The commercial use of wireless charging is now increasingly popular. The Qi standard, as proposed and defined by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) is the most widely adopted wireless charging standard today. It can be found in premium smartphones and watches and in appliances like shavers, lamps and even power tools. Qi-compliant chargers can be found integrated into automobiles and in furniture. Philips was one of the inaugural members of the WPC, holds a prominent position in its steering group, and continues to be instrumental in its contributions to the development of the various existing and upcoming Qi standards.

Wireless power transmission applications

Wireless power transfer with remote sensing application - wireless power transfer medical devices
Wireless power transfer with remote sensing application

Despite these developments, however, the commercial application of wireless electricity to power up products in ‘real time’ (that is, without a battery) is still very much – relatively speaking – in its early stages. At Philips Innovation Services, we aim to take this application of wireless power transfer techniques as far as it can be imagined. We are happy to share some examples with you.

This is where Aditya Mehendale and his colleagues fit in. They have been focusing their expertise, experience – and curiosity – on integrating wireless electricity technologies in mechatronic product design in ways that enable the development of truly new and innovative high-tech solutions. And with great results! Download the PDF with 9 wireless power transfer project examples to get a taste of the possibilities.

  1. Wireless movable spotlight
  2. Rotational system with high power WPT
  3. Remote sensing applications
  4. Wireless traffic cone charging
  5. Wireless power up of a sensor node in a tire
  6. Wireless universal power plug
  7. Contactless powered linear motors
  8. Power and data over light
  9. Wireless ultrasonic power transfer

Download 9 wireless power transfer cases (PDF)
Wireless power transfer applied: more information

Wireless power transmission can be a valuable new tool and opportunity to anyone involved in product development and technical innovation in any way, shape or form.

Are you looking for ways to improve your product design? To make your products smarter, smaller, safer, ergonomic and more effective? Perhaps you’d like to enable smart sensing solutions, or to bring power from a fixed world to a moving world? Then consider using wireless power transfer technologies in your product. We would be happy to provide more information about the possibilities that wireless power transmission offers: the future is now!

Contact the experts directly about wireless power transfer
Read more about our Technology Consulting and Implementation service, one of the services from the Medical Devices Design & Engineering key area of expertise of Philips Innovation Services.

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