Ilias Chrysovergis, ESR4, participated at the Cyprus STEAME Communication Competition 2019, where he got first place.

STEAME stands for Science-Technology-Engineering-Arts-Mathematics-Entrepreneurship and the participants had to present in three minutes, without slides or videos, a concept related to those six categories. The three criteria of assessment where content, clarity and charisma and the most important factor was to explain the idea in a way that can be understood by non-experts. Ilias spoke about Wireless Power Transfer, a technology he is working on as an ESR at PAINLESS. The final phase of the competition will take place in Thessaloniki, Greece in March, where students all over Europe will try to explain as simple as possible a specific idea out of the STEAME spectrum.

Congratulations, Ilias!

Below you can find Ilias’ speech:

Wireless Power Transfer

Imagine a world where your mobile devices do not run out of battery after a couple of hours using them. A universe where forgetting to charge your smartphone is not a big mistake. A life where your laptop will always be with you, even in the most difficult situations. However, these surely sounds to you as science fiction since your laptop, your smartphone, your smartwatch, your tablet, all of them suffer from the same disease: At some point they run out of battery.

But what if there was a cure for that disease? What if there was a way for our best friends to always be charged? Actually, there is a way and dates back to the early 19th century, when Michael Faraday first spoke about the miraculous electromagnetic field. This is the field you use when you talk to your best friend through your smartphone or when you open the light in your kitchen in the middle of the night.

So, how to wirelessly transfer power? The concept is very simple and was introduced by Nikola Tesla more than a century ago. All you need is an electromagnetic field between a source and a destination. If you give it a second to think you will realize that there are already existing devices that use wireless power transfer. For example, the wireless chargers for smartphones do exactly that thing. Today, you do not need to plug your smartphone. You can just leave it on the wireless charger.  The only difference is that you need to add a new chip in your device, which can make it capable of harvesting radiated energy.

But as you can understand the existing technology only works for very small distances. However, a lot of such systems have been researched for long distances too by considering electromagnetic radiation. Electromagnetic radiation is used through the use of antennas for television broadcasting, mobile telecommunication networks and even WIFI. So, just as in communication systems your device receives signals with information transmitted by the antennas, in the new energy systems your device will be able to also harvest energy from these signals.  Worldwide thousands of people work towards that direction and all of them believe that it can revolutionize the energy sector.

All of us working in that area imagine energy-autonomous, portable and infrastructure-less energy networks and this is the reason why we want to build them. We could use this technology to provide energy in islands, remote areas, like fields, forests and uninhabited areas and charge every kind of device we can find in the cities. No one should ever get lost again in large canyons or in snowy mountain peaks because the future of power is wireless.