Japanese scientists can now make tea wirelessly, and many other things

13 Mar 2015

A NASA concept for a space-based solar farm. Image via Wikimedia Commons

Thanks to a team of researchers from Japan, your kettle could soon be powered wirelessly for the first time, as well as ensuring the future sustainability of the planet through beaming solar energy from space.

While transmitting energy wirelessly is not new technology given the availability of induction charging for items like electric toothbrushes and mobile phones, there still remains the issue of being able to transmit electricity over distance, rather than just being right beside the transmitter.

Now however, a team of researchers from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have successfully transmitted 1.8kW of electricity – the equivalent of powering a kettle – over a distance of 55m.

According to Phys.org, this marks the first time that microwaves have been able to transmit power of almost 2kW directly to a distant target with minimal levels of deteriorated signal.

While us in Ireland might be more inclined to master at the idea of a futuristic tea-making kettle, the implications in the future for wireless technology are much more life-changing given that one day, a giant solar farm could be launched into Earth’s orbit to harness the power of the sun and beam the vast amounts of energy down to our planet for a more sustainable future.

The obvious benefits of a space-based solar station include 24-hour availability, greater quantities of energy and leaving the Earth free of giant solar farms.

According to a JAXA spokesperson, the eventual goal will be to have this giant solar farm placed 36,000km from Earth, but they stress not to get our hopes up of it being a reality anytime soon with their predictions that the technology, let alone a giant solar farm, is not practical until at least 2040, or even later.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic