Until wireless power becomes mainstream, it is widely believed that the potential offered by the Internet of Things, and indeed the Industrial Internet of Things, cannot be fully realised. Scientists at Imperial College London have brought that breakthrough a step closer after demonstrating an efficient method for transferring power wirelessly to a drone while it is flying.
In theory, the technology could allow flying drones to stay airborne indefinitely, hovering over a ground support vehicle to recharge. Beyond drone technology, the team behind the innovation believe transferring power wirelessly could also have applications in many industrial applications such as sensors and healthcare devices.
The technology uses inductive coupling, a concept initially demonstrated by inventor Nikola Tesla more than 100 years ago. Two copper coils are tuned into one another, using electronics, which enables the wireless exchange of power at a particular frequency. The technology is still in its experimental stage. The drone can currently fly only 10cm above the magnetic field that provides the energy source. However, the team behind the breakthrough estimate they are just one year away from a commercially available product.
Imperial College London has worked with Breakthrough funding, a company that helps UK SMEs achieve R&D tax credits - a government scheme created to enhance and reward innovation amongst UK businesses. Could you be eligible? Click here to learn more.
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