Wi-Tricity (Wireless Electricity)




About: I am an A-Levels Student at Karachi Grammar School, Pakistan. My passion is physics and mechanics and I want to be a Mechanical Engineer in the future. Actually anything in the field of engineering would do. :P
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Made by Manish Kumar, Murtaza Tunio, Minaam Abbas, Mustafa Rashid and Saad Hirani.

Wireless electricity is one of the most emerging solutions to the global power crisis. It is defined as the transfer of wireless electricity or power from a source to a load without the use of any artificial interconnecting conductors such as wires. Wireless electricity is being used primarily on the basis that at times, wires can be inefficient (power is lost as wires transmit electricity over long distances), inconvenient (in terms of cost and labor) and sometimes hazardous (many people may be electrocuted or put in some sort of danger).

Our team paid attention to two different forms of wireless energy transfer- the first is through resonant inductive coupling, whereby energy supplied to a coil is transferred to a similar parallel coil without the use of any wires in order to provide enough electricity to light LED’s (Light Emitting Diodes). The second is through the use of a laser that reflects onto a solar panel attached to a capacitor that stores the energy converted by the solar panel, and transmits it to an LED placed at a distance. This time, the LED is connected through wires as the laser already shows the transfer of wireless energy. Other forms of wireless electricity transfer not looked at include the use of microwaves etc.


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Step 1: History

Wireless power transmission is not a new idea. Nicola Tesla demonstrated transmission of electrical energy without wires in early 20th century. Tesla used electromagnetic induction systems. Tesla discovered that electrical energy could be transmitted through the earth and the atmosphere. In the course of his research he successfully lit lamps at moderate distances and was able to detect the transmitted energy at much greater distances. The Wardenclyffe Tower project was a commercial venture for trans-Atlantic wireless telephony and proof-of-concept demonstrations of global wireless power transmission. The facility was not completed because of insufficient funding.

Earth is a naturally conducting body and forms one conductor of the system. A second path is established through the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere starting at an elevation of approximately 4.5 miles.

A global system for "the transmission of electrical energy without wires" called the World Wireless System, dependent upon the high electrical conductivity of plasma and the high electrical conductivity of the earth, was proposed as early as 1904
Following World War II, which saw the development of high-power microwave emitters known as cavity magnetrons, the idea of using microwaves to transmit power was researched.

William C Brown demonstrated a microwave powered model helicopter in 1964. This receives all the power needed for flight from a microwave beam. In 1975 Bill Brown transmitted 30kW power over a distance of 1 mile at 84% efficiency without using cables.
Japanese researcher Hidetsugu Yagi also investigated wireless energy transmission using a directional array antenna that he designed. In February 1926, Yagi and Uda published their first paper on the tuned high-gain directional array now known as the Yagi antenna. While it did not prove to be particularly useful for power transmission, this beam antenna has been widely adopted throughout the broadcasting and wireless telecommunications industries due to its excellent performance characteristics.

In 2006, more recent breakthroughs were made; using electrodynamics induction a physics research group, led by Prof. Marin Soljacic, at MIT, wirelessly power a 60W light bulb with 40% efficiency at a 2 meters distance with two 60 cm-diameter coils.

Researchers developed several techniques for moving electricity over long distance without wires. Some exist only as theories or prototypes, but others are already in use.

Step 2: Our Model Space Harvesting

1. Space Harvesting

Our model consists of ‘satellite’, which emits a laser, and a solar cell, placed on ‘earth’, designed absorbs the energy from that laser. This model demonstrates the concept of energy harvesting from space. The world today relies heavily on oil to fulfill its energy requirements; however, oil will not last long enough to sustain us for long. The US Department of Energy in the Hirsch report indicates that “The problems associated with world oil production peaking will not be temporary, and past “energy crisis” experience will provide relatively little guidance.” Moreover, the increasing demand for energy all over the world does not make the situation any better. Therefore scientists have proposed many radical solutions.

One of the proposed solutions is to place an array of solar panels in space and beam the energy generated down to earth by means of microwaves or lasers. Such a system has many benefits:
  1. Higher collection rate: In space, transmission of solar energy is unaffected by the filtering effects of atmospheric gasses. Consequently, collection in orbit is approximately 144% of the maximum attainable on Earth's surface.
  2. Longer collection period: Orbiting satellites can be exposed to a consistently high degree of solar radiation, generally for 24 hours per day, whereas surface panels can collect for 12 hours per day at most.
  3. Elimination of weather concerns, since the collecting satellite would reside well outside of any atmospheric gasses, cloud cover, wind, and other weather events.
  4. Elimination of plant and wildlife interference.
  5. Re-directable power transmission: A collecting satellite could possibly direct power on demand to different surface locations based on geographical baseload or peak load power needs.
Our main focus here is to demonstrate the application of the laser as one of the modes of wireless transfer of energy, it effectively transfers the potential difference generated on the solar panels in space to receiving station on the ground, from where it can be regulated and utilized.

Step 3: Our Model Resonant Inductive Coupling

2. Resonant Inductive Coupling

Our model here demonstrates that electricity can be efficiently transmitted over large distances using inductive coupling. It consists of a two coils which have been ‘inductively coupled’, that is, the magnetic field generated in one coil induces a magnetic field in the other coil. However the point that differentiates this from an ordinary ‘transformer’ type setup is the fact the magnetic flux in these coils has been made to vibrate at a specific frequency with the help of a capacitor. This enables the two coils to transfer energy effectively even over large distances!
Our focus here was to show that electricity can be efficiently transferred over couple of  Inches with the use of resonant inductive coupling. With usage of higher frequencies and a more powerful output such a device could be used to eliminate the need for power cords or extension cables.

The basic purpose and motivation for this project stems from the fact that in the modern world, power has become short in supply and its demand excessive. The costs of maintaining power and equating it to the increasing demand for fossil fuels makes the production of electricity a difficult task. With the reserves of fossil fuels in the world set to end within the first half of the 21st century, now is the best time to explore alternative forms of electricity for usage around the world. Sunlight, water and wind have already been used for powering houses, but these are also resources of nature and considering the fact that we live in a biosphere with limited resources it would be foolish to chase something natural to replace another. Thus the production of electricity by resonant inductive coupling and through lasers seems a useful alternative to the power crisis.

The project not only demonstrates on a small scale the way in which such electricity is produced, but also explores throughout the course of this experiment, whether or not wireless power is a viable source of energy. By looking at various advantages and disadvantages we will be able to determine to what extent in the future, wireless electricity will and can be used to human advantage. The project was inspired from MIT visionaries who wished to use this method of producing electricity following the discoveries of Tesla to benefit power producers around the world and ease production burden and alleviate running costs.

Step 4: Advantages

There are several advantages for this new mode of energy transfer.

1. Highly Resonant Strong Coupling Provides High Efficiency Over Distance

This mode of wireless power transfer is highly efficient over distances ranging from centimeters to several meters. We define efficiency as the amount of usable electrical energy created from a source. This mode of transfer can assure a high rate of efficiency due to its design.

2. Energy Transfer via Magnetic Near Field Can Penetrate and Wrap Around Obstacles

The magnetic near field has several properties that make it an excellent means of transferring energy in a typical consumer, commercial, or industrial environment.  Most common building and furnishing materials, such as wood, gypsum wall board, plastics, textiles, glass, brick, and concrete are essentially “transparent” to magnetic fields—enabling this technology to efficiently transfer power through them.  In addition, the magnetic near field has the ability to “wrap around” many metallic obstacles that might otherwise block the magnetic fields.

3. Non-Radiative Energy Transfer is Safe for People and Animals

WiTricity’s technology is a non-Radiative mode of energy transfer, relying instead on the magnetic near field. Magnetic fields interact very weakly with biological organisms—people and animals—and are scientifically regarded to be safe. Professor Sir John Pendry of Imperial College London, a world renowned physicist, explains:  “The body really responds strongly to electric fields, which is why you can cook a chicken in a microwave.  But it doesn't respond to magnetic fields. As far as we know the body has almost zero response to magnetic fields in terms of the amount of power it absorbs."

4. Scalable Design Enables Solutions from Milli watts to Kilowatts

This system can be designed to handle a broad range of power levels. The benefits of highly efficient energy transfer over distance can be achieved at power levels ranging from Milli watts to several kilowatts. This enables the technology to be used in applications as diverse as powering a wireless mouse or keyboard (milliwatts) to recharging an electric passenger vehicle (kilowatts).

Step 5: Build Your Own Model? Materials

Materials Needed:
  1. 100 feet of high efficiency coils.
  2. 2, 500 micro farads capacitors.
  3. Connecting Wires
  4. LED's
  5. An Oscilloscope (1.1MHz)
  6. A volt meter.

Step 6: How to Build the Model? Step 1

How to Build it?

Wound the coils into 8 by 4 inches. There should be at least 35 turns. We used 35. Make two such coils. Remember to have some ends left out.

Step 7: How to Build the Model? Step 2

Scrape off the edges of each coil's end. This will take off the insulation on them. Do this for every coil you have. 

Step 8: The Circuit

These are pictures of both the receiving coil and the transmitting coil. 

Step 9: Plug in the Wires

Plug in all the wires as shown in the circuit. And Voila it works. You do need to mess around with the oscilloscope a bit though.

Step 10: Watch It Work!

Watch the magic :) The greater the distance, the dimmer the lights.

Step 11: The Second Model

The second model was pretty easy to build. We bought a solar panel from the market. Connected it to an led. We charged the solar panel using a class 2 laser for 5 hours continuously to get a useful power output. And then used it. The model was made from Styrofoam. We covered it in black chart paper to give a space kind of effect. And the base we painted blue and green to signify the earth. 

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    139 Discussions


    12 months ago on Step 11

    I immediately picture the model car scene from Back To The Future


    2 years ago

    Quick question to Manish, but also to anyone who may be able to help, what exactly is the purpose of the oscilloscope. Also is it truly a necessary component in recreating this project, or are there any alternative methods. Really like this project btw.

    If your "...main focus here is to demonstrate the application of the laser as one of the modes of wireless transfer of energy", more information needs to be provided regarding the design, construction, placement, parameters and function of the "receiving station on the ground, from where it can be regulated and utilized". Your "How To's" are ludicrously vague in this DIY "Instructable" -- in fact all but absent. The first model you show -- a totally useless and insipid excuse for a device capable of any practical "Wi-Tricity" application -- is laughably ridiculous. You claim that construction of the second model was "easy", but fail to give any directions of design other than those of the most general kind.

    Your list of materials required to assemble one of these devices includes an oscilloscope. Sure, I'll just go and buy one (shoot, they only cost about $500)!


    3 years ago

    I was reading this and one thing it got my attention >The Wardenclyffe Tower project was a commercial venture for trans-Atlantic wireless telephony and proof-of-concept demonstrations of global wireless power transmission. The facility was not completed because of> insufficient funding.< wrong!! you may read the wrong information about telsa was not insufficient funding is not totally true is because the complication of unlimited energy over the earth with out wired's and the impact in that era in our society would be changed but did not happen not years and decades later when people star to discovery new ways of energy then we try to realize that telsa was rigth


    7 years ago on Introduction

    "We have, in fact, 163 billion barrels of recoverable oil-nearly six times higher than what President Obama and the Democrats like to claim. Let’s think about 163 billion barrels for a moment: that is enough to maintain our current levels of production and replace our imports from the Persian Gulf for more than 50 years.

    "But oil resources offer only a glimpse of the full picture. As I noted earlier, CRS found that America’s combined recoverable natural gas, oil, and coal endowment is the largest on Earth. It’s far larger than that of Saudi Arabia, China, and Canada combined."

    15 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    163 billion is a lot, but the Persian Gulf doesn't supply most of our oil, it's Canada.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    It has everything to do with scarcity. Scarcity = $$$ Get a huge supply of something. Make a big deal about how we don't have it and tell how people can help. People do all the advertising because they want to help change things. Suppress change while buying out patents. (which is easy when the cost of advertising is insane. It doesn't take alot of work to suppress information when it takes an insane amount to put information out there.). Boom. High-demand, publicly accepted "low-supply" = Scarcity = Lots of $$$ and a protected industry. "If you want to make a self-sustaining business/industry/economy create problems not solutions."

    While patriotism is great, nationalism which hinders science is not, it is an accepted fact that oil is running out and future generations will beat a loss unless a gradual shift to greener technology occurs, we can at a maximum stretch our current lifestyle to maybe 150-200 years with natural gas etc, but the resources are non renewable and may not be affordable for all, it is foolish to think otherwise. Please follow me if you liked this Instructable.

    -Manish :)


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I applaude your investigation and your goals to find scientific solutions. However, please keep in mind that "accepted facts" are rarely facts. They are usually founded in groupthink. Groupthink leads to bad science, bad policy and wasted time and resources. In the 1970's it was an "accepted fact" that by the year 2000 US oil reserves would be zero, the world would have experienced peak oil production and that there would be global pandemonium because of it. Yet today the US has more oil reserves than any time in history and globally there is a glut of oil. I think the "accepted fact" should be that nobody knows how long oil will last. I believe oil will last for hundreds of years if not more, but I have no facts to support this. However if you take US oil reserves and project them forward in time, we will never run out of oil (bad science :) ) . Humans are both very ingenious and bad forecasters at the same time. :)

    HI Manish,

    I love how you are doing this type of research. I think there is some severe positive implications and results than can happen from it! Best of luck!

    As for the claims, they are all baseless. In order to know the end of something, you have to know the total of it. That just isn't happening. Noone knows how much of any amount of minteral/substance there is in the whole world. Period. A ludicrous claim by people who want to promote an agenda.

    That being said, I think Oil is a doomed tech simply because it is inefficient (I believe the number is something like 25% of actual usable power from internal combustion engines?).

    People also either have forgotten, or simply not bothered to look but the first cars made were actually electric cars (re: The Electrobat).

    As for ancient technology, peopel who say it never happened are the people I want to see proof they were actually there. It is a shame that people simply close their minds to possibilities. New ideas and proofs pop up all the time, disproving previously preconceived notions of 'what was'.

    Manish, I look forward to seeing what else you come up with :)


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    No one can't measure what they can't see or has a crystal ball that can predict future demand. However with those hindrances Hubert was able to use the data available to him to predict when peak oil would occur with US production. From here on out when peak oil will occur is going to be a moving target, and chances even those who are watching for it may not note it until we moved beyond it Actually the what is considered the first car used a carburetor, the Electrobat came along about 9 years later


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    'Moving target'? Is that the buzz-term people use when they want to hype up a date they can't possibly know? Wow. Delusion doesn't even begin to describe that.

    Now if we're all gonna get picky, the car is attributed to being patented by Luigi De Cristoforis in 1876. The first GASOLINE Carb was done by Enrico Bernard I in 1882.

    The first electric motor is attributed to Anyos Jedlik. The first electric vehicle (train) was created in 1842. The first electric two wheel cycle was displayed in 1867 World Exposition.

    I am not concerned about commercial/retail. Electricity was in people's minds before gas. That is the point.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    It was my understanding that the first internal combustion cars used a simple form of fuel injection, and that the carburetor (a hodge podge of several systems, to handle idling, acceleration, decelleratiion, etc - instead of ONE device that does the job right in the first place) was invented later.

    Then again seed oils were used a fuel before gasoline/petrol back then too. Often the choice was hemp oil, because every farmer grew hemp (without all that hemp to make sails and ropes, the navies of the world - including all trade - would have disappeared, and that includes the merchant fleet that made the US rich on the triangle of "slavery, sugar and rum").

    "first electric motor" -

    Well now, that depends on what KIND of electric motor you mean. Early electro static motors were made by the Monk Andrew Gordon in the 1740s (not useful). Faraday had a simple mercury motor in 1821 (again not useful - it was the first conversion of electrical energy into mechanical energy using electromagnetism). This was refined into Barlow's Wheel (Peter Barlow,1822 - again using mercury) and it was the first device made to rotate using electricity.

    Anyos Jedick had the first DC motor with electromagnetic coils in 1827 (with all its basic pieces - stator, rotor, commutator) but it was not usable for anything in that model - it is a 'proof of concept' model that looks like a roughly made toy.

    However it was Moritz Jacobi who made the first DC motor with any real output (1834). Sturgeon made the first DC motor that could run equipment in 1932.
    US Inventor Davenport created and patented the first direct-current
    electric motor made with the intention of commercial use (1837).

    But is was Jacobi (again) who made a better motor in 1838 than his first one was - good enough to run a boat and move people across a river. However none of these were commercially successful until

    Then in an odd turn of events, in 1871, Zenobe Gramme made a new version of the of the dynamo (the anchor ring dynamo) which removed some problems, and then he used one of them to create energy, used to TURN another one - and IT became the first VIABLE commercial motor.

    .As for electric cars -

    The one that Anyos Jedick made in 1828 was a tiny model (not one you could drive in), and so was the one made in 1934 by Thomas Davenport.

    In 1835, Professor Sibrandus Stratingh (the Netherlands) & his assistant Christopher Becker created a small-scale electrical car, powered by non-rechargeable primary cells, but not useful yet.

    Trouble was there were no rechargeable batteries yet - not until Plante invented the lead-acid battery in 1869.

    *** BUT ***

    The inventions that gave us seriously useful electricity (not just Faraday's laws) came from Tesla and AC electricity (the patents are his - indisputably), but he made the mistake of working with people who stole from him. Edison stole his AC electrical generation systems, and then Tesla got screwed again when his temporary assistant Marconi stole radio from him. Mind you, Marconi was claiming to have invented radio, at a time when Tesla had a simple remote control boat that use radio.

    Then again, Edison was a lot like Bill Gates - big on marketing, big on ego... after as much cash as he could get, and no ethics to speak of. Mostly he was very talented at convincing intelligent/talented people to work for him under contracts that said HE owned everything they made... and keeping their work for his own profit. He was also very good at stealing other peoples inventions outright and getting away with it.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I don't get it you used everything I admitted wiyh statements in association with my statement of "moving target, to attack "moving target". No hyping at all when it is a moving target because of so many factors that will effect the time when global peak oil does come about.  Demand is unpredictable. Production projections unreliable, fortunes where lost believing production projections where reliable. So much of those projections depends on an economy that allows the public to afford the higher costs of production. Much of the projected production depends on the public's willingness to waste much more precious resources like water.  Hydraulic fracturing while being use for years with problems seems to be problematic when used with discoveries in different formations. I know you are not concerned about  what was the first that lead us to the most widespread transportation method used today. I admit I misspoke when I said the first car used a carburetor. the fact of the matter remains the first car power plant used a fuel whose vapors mixed with air  how that was achieved has to irrelevant, carburetors took over the vaporization, and then fuel injection. Conceptually it would seem steam was on everyone's mind. Anyos Jedlik certainly made a contribution to our modern life but it wasn't the automobile.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Can you explain to me what you mean by "peak oil". I have heard things about this, and I would honestly like more information about it, from your point of view. I promise that I am sincere in this.

    It depends on what you mean by "car". I found this page, which I found informative: http://www.ausbcomp.com/~bbott/cars/carhist.htm

    My understanding of the first Mercedes Benz (considered by some to be the first car) was that the fuel was vaporized in a externally heated tube. Thus, it didn't have anything resembling a carburetor. I admit that my recollection may be faulty.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Well, yes, in the early days of the "horseless carriage", all sorts of things were tried, including steam.

    I believe that we ended up with the (mostly) gasoline-powered ICE simply because that is the best solution. While there is some disagreement on the exact number, a gallon of gasoline is the approximate energetic equivalent to 36,650 watt-hours. Even at the efficiency level you cite (and the attendant higher efficiency of electric motors), that is an advantage that is quite difficult to overcome.

    At the present, state-of-the-art technology, it takes a $40,000 battery to take a car any appreciable distance, without being recharged in some fashion.

    Yes, I know that Chevrolet Volts don't cost that much to the consumer (aside from the debate as to whether 40 miles is an "appreciable distance), one commentator added up all the upstream, government subsidies of the volt, and they amounted to $50,000 to $250,000 PER CAR, depending on production, which hasn't been much (the production line has been temporarily shut down due to lack of demand).


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    We ended up with ICE (petrol/diesel/LPG powered) , because of Mr Henry Ford. Before him (his car factory , with moving production line and standardized parts and production procedures) , cars were made like carriages - manually , one at the time , depending on a skill of a craftsmen and design , which made them very expensive. Therefore - great variety of different propulsion systems in early days. Mr Ford asked Mr Edison about system of propulsion(over a dinner , in some social event) - should it be electric (most of cars, or at least very significant percentage were electric in those days) and Mr Edison answered: go with petrol Henry ! (I don't have links to that anecdote , but you can Google it...)
    Since than , all the efforts of car manufacturers were in the direction of ICE technology improvement , not in electrical energy storage direction (batteries or capacitors...) . There are new technologies in that field (i.e. NanoSafe - again : google) , but that isn't commercially available from various reasons (mainly - because protection of current state of order of things and relations in world).


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I admit I misspoke when I said the first car used a carburetor but the first car that lead to transportation change used a means to mix fuel vapors with air, and is electric or steam. When I mention peak oil it's in the manner put forth by M King Hubbert. I believe the first sentence in the Wikipedia article sums it up concisely "Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline". I agree petroleum is a magical substance, and man will be hard put to find a replacement that matches it's portability of energy. I don't believe I ever mentioned the Chevy Volt. Of course what's an acceptable range with any vehicle will vary with the needs of the individual, but I can see the Volt meetings the needs of many. As far as subsidies the Federal government has always subsidized new trends in one way or another. I don't know where Chevrolet messed up. Last I heard when the Volt production was suspend the Nissan Leaf was selling well. Best I can tell the Volt is in effect a half-assed hybrid, and the Leaf  may be a better version of the electric car GM stopped building.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I'm pretty sure steam engines pre-date electric ones. Are you sure the first cars were electric and not steam? Electric came before internal combustion, but external combustion (steam) most likely was first.