AI News, Flying drones could soon re-charge while airborne with new technology

Flying drones could soon re-charge while airborne with new technology

The breakthrough could in theory allow flying drones to stay airborne indefinitely -- simply hovering over a ground support vehicle to recharge -- opening up new potential industrial applications.

Now, scientists from Imperial College London have removed the battery from an off-the-shelf mini-drone and demonstrated that they can wirelessly transfer power to it via inductive coupling.

They believe their demonstration is the first to show how this wireless charging method can be efficiently done with a flying object like a drone, potentially paving the way for wider use of the technology.

To demonstrate their approach the researchers bought an off-the-shelf quadcopter drone, around 12 centimetres in diameter, and altered its electronics and removed its battery.

On the ground, a transmitter device made out of a circuit board is connected to electronics and a power source, creating a magnetic field.

When it flies into the magnetic field an alternating current (AC) voltage is induced in the receiving antenna and the drone's electronics convert it efficiently into a direct current (DC) voltage to power it.

One option could see a ground support vehicle being used as a mobile charging station, where drones could hover over it and recharge, never having to leave the air.'

Wireless power transfer

Wireless power transfer is a generic term for a number of different technologies for transmitting energy by means of electromagnetic fields.[12][13][14] The technologies, listed in the table below, differ in the distance over which they can transfer power efficiently, whether the transmitter must be aimed (directed) at the receiver, and in the type of electromagnetic energy they use: time varying electric fields, magnetic fields, radio waves, microwaves, infrared or visible light waves.[15] In general a wireless power system consists of a 'transmitter' connected to a source of power such as a mains power line, which converts the power to a time-varying electromagnetic field, and one or more 'receiver' devices which receive the power and convert it back to DC or AC electric current which is used by an electrical load.[12][15] At the transmitter the input power is converted to an oscillating electromagnetic field by some type of 'antenna' device.

The oscillating electric and magnetic fields surrounding moving electric charges in an antenna device can be divided into two regions, depending on distance Drange from the antenna.[12][15][16][19][25][26] [27] The boundary between the regions is somewhat vaguely defined.[15] The fields have different characteristics in these regions, and different technologies are used for transferring power: At large relative distance, the near-field components of electric and magnetic fields are approximately quasi-static oscillating dipole fields.

It is used in inductive charging stands for cordless appliances used in wet environments such as electric toothbrushes[19] and shavers, to reduce the risk of electric shock.[41] Another application area is 'transcutaneous' recharging of biomedical prosthetic devices implanted in the human body, such as cardiac pacemakers and insulin pumps, to avoid having wires passing through the skin.[42][43] It is also used to charge electric vehicles such as cars and to either charge or power transit vehicles like buses and trains.[19][21] However the fastest growing use is wireless charging pads to recharge mobile and handheld wireless devices such as laptop and tablet computers, cellphones, digital media players, and video game controllers.[21] The power transferred increases with frequency[40] and the mutual inductance

Nikola Tesla first discovered resonant coupling during his pioneering experiments in wireless power transfer around the turn of the 20th century,[46][47][48] but the possibilities of using resonant coupling to increase transmission range has only recently been explored.[49] In 2007 a team led by Marin Soljačić at MIT used two coupled tuned circuits each made of a 25 cm self-resonant coil of wire at 10 MHz to achieve the transmission of 60 W of power over a distance of 2 meters (6.6 ft) (8 times the coil diameter) at around 40% efficiency.[19][30][41][47][50] Soljačić founded the company WiTricity (the same name the team used for the technology) which is attempting to commercialize the technology.

drawback of resonant coupling theory is that at close ranges when the two resonant circuits are tightly coupled, the resonant frequency of the system is no longer constant but 'splits' into two resonant peaks,[51][52][53] so the maximum power transfer no longer occurs at the original resonant frequency and the oscillator frequency must be tuned to the new resonance peak.[31][54] The case of using such a shifted peak is called 'single resonant'.[55] The 'Single resonant' systems have also been used, in which only the secondary is a tuned circuit.[56] The principle of this phenomenon is also called '(Magnetic) phase synchronization'[57][58] and already started practical application for AGV in Japan from around 1993.[59] And now, the concept of highly resonant presented by researcher of MIT is applied only to the secondary side resonator, and high efficiency wide gap high power wireless power transfer system is realized and it is used for induction current collector of SCMaglev.[60][56] Resonant technology is currently being widely incorporated in modern inductive wireless power systems.[40] One of the possibilities envisioned for this technology is area wireless power coverage.

A coil in the wall or ceiling of a room might be able to wirelessly power lights and mobile devices anywhere in the room, with reasonable efficiency.[41] An environmental and economic benefit of wirelessly powering small devices such as clocks, radios, music players and remote controls is that it could drastically reduce the 6 billion batteries disposed of each year, a large source of toxic waste and groundwater contamination.[35] In capacitive coupling (electrostatic induction), the conjugate of inductive coupling, energy is transmitted by electric fields[2][13][3][5] between electrodes[4] such as metal plates.

The field is largely confined between the capacitor plates, reducing interference, which in inductive coupling requires heavy ferrite 'flux confinement' cores.[13][42] Also, alignment requirements between the transmitter and receiver are less critical.[13][16][61] Capacitive coupling has recently been applied to charging battery powered portable devices[2] as well as charging or continuous wireless power transfer in biomedical implants, [3][4][5] and is being considered as a means of transferring power between substrate layers in integrated circuits.[62] Two types of circuit have been used: Resonance can also be used with capacitive coupling to extend the range.

This device has been proposed as an alternative to inductive power transfer for noncontact charging of electric vehicles.[20] A rotating armature embedded in a garage floor or curb would turn a receiver armature in the underside of the vehicle to charge its batteries.[20] It is claimed that this technique can transfer power over distances of 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches) with high efficiency, over 90%.[20][66] Also, the low frequency stray magnetic fields produced by the rotating magnets produce less electromagnetic interference to nearby electronic devices than the high frequency magnetic fields produced by inductive coupling systems.

of the filament of air.[106] This new process is being explored for use as a laser lightning rod and as a means to trigger lightning bolts from clouds for natural lightning channel studies,[107] for artificial atmospheric propagation studies, as a substitute for conventional radio antennas,[108] for applications associated with electric welding and machining,[109][110] for diverting power from high-voltage capacitor discharges, for directed-energy weapon applications employing electrical conduction through a ground return path,[111][112][113][114] and electronic jamming.[115] In the context of wireless power, energy harvesting, also called power harvesting or energy scavenging, is the conversion of ambient energy from the environment to electric power, mainly to power small autonomous wireless electronic devices.[116] The ambient energy may come from stray electric or magnetic fields or radio waves from nearby electrical equipment, light, thermal energy (heat), or kinetic energy such as vibration or motion of the device.[116] Although the efficiency of conversion is usually low and the power gathered often minuscule (milliwatts or microwatts),[116] it can be adequate to run or recharge small micropower wireless devices such as remote sensors, which are proliferating in many fields.[6][116] This new technology is being developed to eliminate the need for battery replacement or charging of such wireless devices, allowing them to operate completely autonomously.[117] The 19th century saw many developments of theories, and counter-theories on how electrical energy might be transmitted.

Around 1884 John Henry Poynting defined the Poynting vector and gave Poynting's theorem, which describe the flow of power across an area within electromagnetic radiation and allow for a correct analysis of wireless power transfer systems.[21][45][123] This was followed on by Heinrich Rudolf Hertz' 1888 validation of the theory, which included the evidence for radio waves.[123] During the same period two schemes of wireless signaling were put forward by William Henry Ward (1871) and Mahlon Loomis (1872) that were based on the erroneous belief that there was an electrified atmospheric stratum accessible at low altitude.[124][125] Both inventors' patents noted this layer connected with a return path using 'Earth currents'' would allow for wireless telegraphy as well as supply power for the telegraph, doing away with artificial batteries, and could also be used for lighting, heat, and motive power.[126][127] A more practical demonstration of wireless transmission via conduction came in Amos Dolbear's 1879 magneto electric telephone that used ground conduction to transmit over a distance of a quarter of a mile.[128] After 1890 inventor Nikola Tesla experimented with transmitting power by inductive and capacitive coupling using spark-excited radio frequency resonant transformers, now called Tesla coils, which generated high AC voltages.[45][47][129] Early on he attempted to develop a wireless lighting system based on near-field inductive and capacitive coupling[47] and conducted a series of public demonstrations where he lit Geissler tubes and even incandescent light bulbs from across a stage.[47][129][130] He found he could increase the distance at which he could light a lamp by using a receiving LC circuit tuned to resonance with the transmitter's LC circuit.[46] using resonant inductive coupling.[47][48] Tesla failed to make a commercial product out of his findings[131] but his resonant inductive coupling method is now widely used in electronics and is currently being applied to short-range wireless power systems.[47][132] Tesla went on to develop a wireless power distribution system that he hoped would be capable of transmitting power long distance directly into homes and factories.

Tesla thought this would allow alternating current to be received with a similar capacitive antenna tuned to resonance with it at any point on Earth with very little power loss.[139][140][141] His observations also led him to believe a high voltage used in a coil at an elevation of a few hundred feet would 'break the air stratum down', eliminating the need for miles of cable hanging on balloons to create his atmospheric return circuit.[142][143] Tesla would go on the next year to propose a 'World Wireless System' that was to broadcast both information and power worldwide.[144][145] In 1901, at Shoreham, New York he attempted to construct a large high-voltage wireless power station, now called Wardenclyffe Tower, but by 1904 investment dried up and the facility was never completed.

The proliferation of portable wireless communication devices such as mobile phones, tablet, and laptop computers in recent decades is currently driving the development of mid-range wireless powering and charging technology to eliminate the need for these devices to be tethered to wall plugs during charging.[150] The Wireless Power Consortium was established in 2008 to develop interoperable standards across manufacturers.[150] Its Qi inductive power standard published in August 2009 enables high efficiency charging and powering of portable devices of up to 5 watts over distances of 4 cm (1.6 inches).[151] The wireless device is placed on a flat charger plate (which can be embedded in table tops at cafes, for example) and power is transferred from a flat coil in the charger to a similar one in the device.

In 2007, a team led by Marin Soljačić at MIT used a dual resonance transmitter with a 25 cm diameter secondary tuned to 10 MHz to transfer 60 W of power to a similar dual resonance receiver over a distance of 2 meters (6.6 ft) (eight times the transmitter coil diameter) at around 40% efficiency.[47][50] In 2008 the team of Greg Leyh and Mike Kennan of Nevada Lightning Lab used a grounded dual resonance transmitter with a 57 cm diameter secondary tuned to 60 kHz and a similar grounded dual resonance receiver to transfer power through coupled electric fields with an earth return circuit over a distance of 12 meters (39 ft).[152] Before World War 2, little progress was made in wireless power transmission.[153] Radio was developed for communication uses, but couldn't be used for power transmission since the relatively low-frequency radio waves spread out in all directions and little energy reached the receiver.[21][45][153] In radio communication, at the receiver, an amplifier intensifies a weak signal using energy from another source.

Brown.[21][45] In 1964 Brown invented the rectenna which could efficiently convert microwaves to DC power, and in 1964 demonstrated it with the first wireless-powered aircraft, a model helicopter powered by microwaves beamed from the ground.[21][153] A major motivation for microwave research in the 1970s and 80s was to develop a solar power satellite.[45][153] Conceived in 1968 by Peter Glaser, this would harvest energy from sunlight using solar cells and beam it down to Earth as microwaves to huge rectennas, which would convert it to electrical energy on the electric power grid.[21][155] In landmark 1975 experiments as technical director of a JPL/Raytheon program, Brown demonstrated long-range transmission by beaming 475 W of microwave power to a rectenna a mile away, with a microwave to DC conversion efficiency of 54%.[156] At NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory he and Robert Dickinson transmitted 30 kW DC output power across 1.5 km with 2.38 GHz microwaves from a 26 m dish to a 7.3 x 3.5 m rectenna array.

Flying drones could soon re-charge whilst airborne with new technology

The breakthrough could in theory allow flying drones to stay airborne indefinitely – simply hovering over a ground support vehicle to recharge – opening up new potential industrial applications.

Now, scientists from Imperial College London have removed the battery from an off-the-shelf mini-drone and demonstrated that they can wirelessly transfer power to it via inductive coupling.

They believe their demonstration is the first to show how this wireless charging method can be efficiently done with a flying object like a drone, potentially paving the way for wider use of the technology.

To demonstrate their approach the researchers bought an off-the-shelf quadcopter drone, around 12 centimetres in diameter, and altered its electronics and removed its battery.

On the ground, a transmitter device made out of a circuit board is connected to electronics and a power source, creating a magnetic field.

When it flies into the magnetic field an alternating current (AC) voltage is induced in the receiving antenna and the drone's electronics convert it efficiently into a direct current (DC) voltage to power it.

The use of small drones for commercial purposes, in surveillance, for reconnaissance missions, and search and rescue operations are rapidly growing.

One option could see a ground support vehicle being used as a mobile charging station, where drones could hover over it and recharge, never having to leave the air.'

'Another application could include implantable miniature diagnostic medical devices, wirelessly powered from a source external to the body.

Flying drones could soon re-charge whilst airborne with new technology

Scientists have demonstrated a highly efficient method for wirelessly transferring power to a drone while it is flying.

The breakthrough could in theory allow flying drones to stay airborne indefinitely by simply hovering over a ground support vehicle to recharge opening up new potential industrial applications.

Now, scientists from Imperial College London have removed the battery from an off-the-shelf mini-drone and demonstrated that they can wirelessly transfer power to it via inductive coupling.

They believe their demonstration is the first to show how this wireless charging method can be efficiently done with a flying object like a drone, potentially paving the way for wider use of the technology.

To demonstrate their approach the researchers bought an off-the-shelf quadcopter drone, around 12 centimetres in diameter, and altered its electronics and removed its battery.

When it flies into the magnetic field an alternating current (AC) voltage is induced in the receiving antenna and the drone’s electronics convert it efficiently into a direct current (DC) voltage to power it.

One option could see a ground support vehicle being used as a mobile charging station, where drones could hover over it and recharge, never having to leave the air.'

How Does Wireless Charging Work? || Crude Wireless Energy Transfer Circuit

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