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Step aside wireless charging, you could soon be able to charge your phone using lasers

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A team from the University of Washington has developed smartphone charging system that could potentially knock even wireless charging out of play. The team has engineered a way to charge a mobile phone by using a system of laser beams.

The laser beams can charge a phone from across a room and full charge can be achieved in the same amount of time as using a USB cable. The beam uses a cell on the back of the smartphone which reacts with the laser, thus enabling the energy to charge the phone. It is believed that the charging beam gives off 2W of power from up to 4.3 meters away. 

You could soon be able to charge your phone using lasers

Co-lead author of the project, Vikram Iyer said:

"This acoustic localization system ensures that the emitter can detect when a user has set the smartphone on the charging surface, which can be an ordinary location like a table across the room.”

However, a concern about the safety element of this new technology has been raised and the team have addressed the issue, aiming to make laser charging safe.

Co-author, Shyam Gollakota, added: 

"Safety was our focus in designing this system. We have designed, constructed and tested this laser-based charging system with a rapid-response safety mechanism, which ensures that the laser emitter will terminate the charging beam before a person comes into the path of the laser."

"The guard beams are able to act faster than our quickest motions because those beams are reflected back to the emitter at the speed of light," said Gollakota. "As a result, when the guard beam is interrupted by the movement of a person, the emitter detects this within a fraction of a second and deploys a shutter to block the charging beam before the person can come in contact with it."

Some additional security features include, a metal flat-plate heatsink to dissipate the heat from the laser and a reflector-based contraption to automatically shut off the laser if a human passes through it whilst it is charging.

Information & Communications Technology

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Step aside wireless charging, you could soon be able to charge your phone using lasers - Time to read 2 min
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