Scientists from the University of Tokyo have designed a new system that can wirelessly charge smartwatches and smartphones, thanks to a cuttable power transfer sheet. The sheet can be easily molded and cut depending on the needs of the device, and to help fit a variety of different objects and surfaces.
“You can do more than just cut this sheet into fun or interesting shapes. The sheet is thin and flexible so you can mold it around curved surfaces such as bags and clothes. Our idea is anyone could transform various surfaces into wireless charging areas.”
Ryo Takahashi of the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology.
Because of the versatility of the design, the new charging system can be easily affixed to clothes as a wearable device, or wrapped around objects to create a stationary charging spot. It can also be cut depending on the needs of the user, so the device can be as large — or as small — as needed.
The new system takes its inspiration from the current generation of wireless power chargers. In both systems, conductive coils in the charger are used to create a current in the corresponding coils found in your smartphone or smartwatch. However, that’s where the similarities end.
The new cuttable sheet is far thinner than traditional chargers, making it lighter and easier to transport. The novel design of the coils also helps to create a wider usable charging area — so you can theoretically have more than one device charging wirelessly at a time.
In the new model, the coils are wired differently to allow the cutting of the sheet. As long as a certain number of the coils are intact after the sheet has been cut, it will charge quickly and effectively — no matter how small the actual surface may be.
“Currently a 400-millimeter (15.75-inch) square sheet provides about 2 to 5 watts of power, enough for a smartphone. But I think we could get this up to tens of watts or enough for a small computer,” explained Takahashi in an interview. “In just a few years, I would love to see this sheet embedded in furniture, toys, bags and clothes. I hope it makes technology more invisible.”