Wireless power is all rage. After the Palm Pre, Sony has now demonstrated a working prototype power supply that can transmit up to 60w of power to a television set located half a meter away.
This can be extended to 80 cm when "passive extender units" are added. The technology was apparently initially developed by by the MIT and last week, Dell introduced the Latitude Z laptop which makes use of an inductive charging pad as well. The range will go down if there's anything in the way as one might expect.
The bad news though is that 25 percent of the power transmitted is lost although it is still (very) early days. Transmitting power through induction is nothing new since it appears to be an air-cored transformer, except significantly better and more practical.
Furthermore, it is not known how safe the technology really is. Sony added in the official press release that "With magnetic resonance, electromagnetic energy is only transferred to recipient devices that share the identical resonant frequencies as the energy source, so energy transfer efficiency is maintained, even when misalignment occurs. Furthermore, even if there are metal objects located between the transmitter and receiver, no heat induction occurs."
Does that mean that there will be issues if several devices share the same resonant frequencies? We think that the technology though is about to become mainstream, a bit like 3D television. Sony is also likely to extend the technology to other devices as well, including its computers.