My friends and I had this idea back in 2004 about going completely wireless. My desktop computer moved from a 25 ft cable to a wireless card, and all that was left was the power cord. So we thought about what it would take to create a wireless power supply.
In order for power/electricity to jump through air, it has to be 6 million volts of electric current or more. This is the same charge that you see when you’re shocked by static electricity. The voltage is not what harms you, it’s the length of time you’re exposed to the voltage.
To get a real, wireless power supply, there are a couple different options, each with their own flaws…
One would be light – a laser. A bright laser that is aimed at a photocell to convert light into energy would be the simplest. However, that requires a direct line-of-sight for it to work. Solar power is also not capable (at this point in technology) to produce enough energy to power something more than a couple batteries could do.
Another possibility is a fuel of some kind in an engine to generate electricity. But that would be attached to the object, and the point of the project is to get power from a remote source. An engine would be local.
One idea that could feasibly work – though I have not personally tested it for safety or functionality is salt water. Salt water is a natural conductor for electricity. Water transfers electricity just fine by itself, but saltwater enhances that capability.
If one were to extend a metal conductor into one line of saltwater, and a second one in another – to create an in and out flow, one could effectively have a “wireless power supply”. There would still be a need for a channel of saltwater to be created around the operating area, and would accomplish the same thing that copper wiring does in the home/office today.
A battery powered electromagnetic engine could create a localsource of power inside a computer, and last quite a while, but it would not fulfill the remote-nature of the wireless power supply.
If the idea were shortened to simply include the inside of a computer, where electricity was piped to the PSU, channels of light could be guided to small photocells via fiberoptics to power the internal hardware of the computer. This would be my idea for the next generation of computers that used light to store and transmit data instead of circuit boards. It would instead be a FIOBoard. It could be encased in a clear computer case, and the FIOBoards made of transparent material, and all activity could be seen as it was happening.
But while we haven’t yet figured out the nature of transmitting useable energy, safely, and efficiently – it’s our idea…and we’re thinking about it.