Engineering Update #57: Wirelessly charge 40 phones at one time transcript

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 12:00am

Engineering Update #57: Wirelessly charge 40 phones at one time

 Kasey: Welcome to the Engineering update. I’m Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor of ECN, and in this week's episode:

How to wirelessly charge 40 phones at once

Unlocking guns with your fingerprint

And creating fuel from the sun

In today’s world, time is money and that goes double for the time it takes to charge electronics. With that in mind researches at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have developed a pretty unique charging station. Not only is it capable of wirelessly charging electronics from up to 16 feet away, it’s coolest attribute is that it is capable of powering multiple devices at the same time. And we’re talking about A LOT of devices, as in, up to 40 smartphones at the same time.

While there probably isn’t a huge application for charging that many phones outside of an office setting, the prototype is strong enough that it is capable of charging larger electronics like fans, tvs or computers, which means it could be a great home device.

The Dipole Coil Resonant System, which is based on MIT’s 2007 Coupled Magnetic resonance System, utilizes two magnetic dipole coils: a primary coil to induce the magnetic field and a secondary coil to receive the energy. The system is capable of delivering up to 209 Watts  of power at 20 kilohertz, but the closer it is to the electronic being charged the better the charge. The device offers 471 watts at 13 feet and 1403 watts at 10 feet.


Jason: Gun control is a tinderbox sitting atop a thousand sticks of dynamite, surrounded by third-rate magicians juggling flaming 2 x 4s.

 So…we won’t be discussing that…at least on the Engineering Update.

But we are enamored by cool technology, and a biometric gun lock called Identilock is cooler than Fonzi.

While Armatix – and several others – tote smartguns that rely on RFID-enabled watches to unlock them, Identilock, well, unlocks with a swipe of your finger. According to Omer Kiyani, who developed Identilock, this could potentially address the complaints of gun rights activists, who claim that an RFID-enabled smartgun could malfunction at an inopportune moment.

But according to Omer, releasing the Identilock is as simple as unlocking your iPhone – though of course, the iPhone relies on capacitive touch, and the Identilock reads a very specific fingerprint, which presumably leaves less margin for error.

Still, if it works properly, the Identilock is optional – for now, anyway – detachable, and quick. It also uses off-the-shelf components, including the biometric sensor, and using existing technologies saved money in the long run.

The Identilock will go through a pilot program with law enforcement later this year.


Kasey: With concerns about the availability and environmental impact of fuel, the engineering and scientific communities have been looking to alternative sources of energy, including a recent project to harness the power of the sun. Obviously, using the sun as a power source isn’t a new idea, there are entire industries built on that, but in this case scientists are using the sun to not only fuel jets, but also reduce Co2 emissions. 

The SOLAR-JET, which stands for Solar chemical reaction demonstration and optimization for long term availability of renewable jet fuel – catchy—is designed to use concentrated sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into kerosene to be used as jet fuel. Essentially, the system uses a solar drive redox cycle to rearrange electrons and convert carbon dioxide and water into synthesis gas. They then use a technique used by gas companies to pull hydrogenand carbon monoxide from the syngas and create kerosene. Thought it’s still early in the process, research is being done to see if this is a logistically feasible option on a large scale. The researchers are scheduled to make a decision by 2015.

That’s all for this week’s episode. Be sure to check in on Twitter and Facebook and see past episodes at For the ecn channel, I’m Kasey Panetta, and this had been your engineering update.



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