The genius came from Central Europe and quietly ended, nearly penniless, in a small hotel room in New York. A genius the world has almost all but forgotten. Every day we use the fruits of his endeavors without a second thought. We run our microwaves, our Flat screen TVs and even use his inventions to fight our nation’s war on terror at our airports. However, none of his inventions have been met with more scrutiny than the simple ideas he tried to bring to fruition in a small laboratory in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The most revolutionary idea…transmit electricity to the world by spreading it 80 km into the Earth’s ionosphere. The idea was simple in thought, but more difficult to bring to reality. The genius? Nikola Tesla (1856-1943). Nikola spent 9 months in Colorado Springs to fully research and test his grand ideas. According to some accounts he was able to transmit power up to 10 miles away from his small, barn-like lab. Ecstatic and charged with enthusiasm, Tesla took his research observations back to New York, where he had first began his epic life in America.
(Tesla’s Electricity Transmission Tower)
After much salesmanship, he was awarded some funds to turn research in to reality. In order to do so, he had to build an enormous tower and an equally enormous coil to spread the electricity far enough to transmit power to the masses in the surrounding area. He was granted $150,000 for his efforts which really required more in the neighborhood of $1,000,000. Unfortunately, with the nation’s economic troubles and focus on the new invention called the Radio Telegraph, Tesla began losing ground for the financial support needed to keep his research alive. The radio’s inventor (who will not mentioned out of respect for Tesla) had stolen several of Tesla’s patents and gained the nations gratitude and funding. Tesla’s dream had mostly withered away. Mostly forgotten. That was in the early 1900s.
Today in 2010, we embrace Tesla’s dream…only on a smaller scale. Instead of massive towers overhead to power all of our glorious electronics, there will be coils hidden in our homes and in our offices. The coils will power everything from our Plasma TVs to our cell phones. No more wires. The new wireless power technology is closer that one may expect. Many power pads are already on the market to charge a phone without “plugging in.” Today’s wireless power technology, for a lack of a better term, is “coupled.” Using near-field inductive coupling technology, where power is transferred from a “power pad” to a device. The device still receives a steady flow of power, but the power is not sent over a cable, but through the air as Telsa had previously proven. No more worrying about where to hang the TV because you need to reach a cord to a power outlet, or scurrying to plug in your laptop because it is almost out of battery power.
Companies, like eCoupled, are bringing us this old technology in a new way. This new technology, inspired by the labors of the past, will vastly improve the devices we depend upon today. Using the same transmission ideas discovered more than 100 years ago, we will soon be a world with wireless power…cordless…free. After all, we are a nation that thrives upon our freedom and cherishes its virtue.
Sometimes, we must remind ourselves of the past as we venture in to the future…