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Alum Alanson Sample Develops Innovative Powering Device

March 3, 2017

By: Tommy Merth

Imagine charging your iPhone wirelessly by simply walking into your house. Lately, the Wireless Systems group at Disney Pittsburgh Research has made remarkable progress towards this idea of ubiquitous wireless power transfer. Their innovative design can power multiple devices in a medium-sized room without posing any health risks.

To accomplish this, the Wireless Systems group developed a technique known as quasistatic cavity resonance (QSCR). The QSCR approach is particularly appealing because the physical structure of the room or furniture can be used to generate the magnetic resonators. Tests and simulations show that, “a 54 m3 [cubic meters] QSCR room can deliver power to small coil receivers in nearly any position with 40 percent to 95 percent efficiency.”

Alanson Sample, Ph.D. '11

Alanson Sample, Ph.D. ’11

The team is led by Alanson Sample (Ph.D. ’11). During his graduate studies, Sample focused precisely on advanced methods for wireless power transfer. He also supplemented his research and classwork with a full-time position at Intel Research Seattle. Now, as the associate lab director and principal research scientist at Disney Pittsburgh Research, Sample is tackling broad problems in wireless communication, analog circuits and embedded systems.

Sample firmly believes that QSCR could reanimate wireless power systems engineering. In a recent video produced by the Disney Pittsburgh Research, the Wireless Systems group showcases the effectiveness and convenience of their design.

“In this work, we are demonstrating room scale wireless power,” Sample said. “But there is no reason that we couldn’t shrink this down to the size of a charging chest or scale up to a warehouse or a large building.”

Sample’s prototype suggests that quasistatic cavity resonance could be the leading implementation of ubiquitous wireless power transfer. Ubiquitous wireless power can be right around the corner thanks to QSCR.