This summer, Intel researchers demonstrated a method--based on MIT research--for throwing electricity a distance of a few feet, without wires and without any dangers to bystanders (well, none that they know about yet). Intel calls the technology a "wireless resonant energy link," and it works by sending a specific, 10-MHz signal through a coil of wire; a similar, nearby coil of wire resonates in tune with the frequency, causing electrons to flow through that coil too. Though the design is primitive, it can light up a 60-watt bulb with 70 percent efficiency.
When is it coming?
A year or two from now you'll also be able to purchase laptops, tablets, mobile phones and other consumer electronic devices that don't need any wires, because their power needs will be met by wireless transmission.
"Instead of having a different charging cord for every device you own, you can have one location where you put your mobile phone or your laptop, and it will stay charged automatically, says Morris Kesler, chief technology officer at WiTricity of Watertown, Mass. "There's no reason that these devices need a cord anymore.â€
WiTricity, an MIT spinoff, offers highly resonant wireless power transfer technology that "is applicable in any situation where a device has a cord or a battery that needs to be charged, Kesler says. It doesn't take much imagination to envision the benefits of not having to pack up those bulky AC bricks and yards of cords into your carry case each time you hit the commute trail to work and home again. Consider not having to worry about trading off computer performance for battery life. When, not if, this technology becomes mainstream, planes, trains and automobiles can all be retrofitted with wireless charging so while you passing the time your laptop is topping off its battery or you are finishing up work on the train ride home that would have had to wait for an AC outlet. Finally, an answer to the issue of what do you want more, computer performance or battery life, why not both?
The Next Big thing? The memristor, a microscopic component that can "remember" electrical states even when turned off. Think of it as RAM that doesn't lose its memory when turned off. Imagine how fast your computer would be if you entire computer RAM only on RAM and didn't need the time drawback of accessing saved data from a drive. I know right? That is what memristor does for you. It's expected to be far cheaper and faster than flash storage. A theoretical concept since 1971, it has now been built in labs and is already starting to revolutionize everything we know about computing, possibly making flash memory, RAM, and even hard drives obsolete within a decade.
New chips that blur the line between computer memory and storage are starting to move beyond niche applications and could change how we use PCs . The chips would enable the same instant-on capability that’s common on tablets, but at much higher performance, ”We’re seeing the development of new solid-state storage technologies that are starting to play a role,” he said. "MRAM is one that we’re seeing playing a role providing a non-volatile memory technology, and there’s some talk about resistive RAM doing some things.”
Conventional memory chips—called DRAM—store ones and zeros using a electrical charge in each memory cell, but Magnetoresistive RAM (MRAM) uses a magnetic charge. Resistive RAM (RRAM) is based on a sandwich made from two materials, with the center layer having a different resistance to the material that makes up the outer layers.
PCs today use DRAM to run programs and temporarily store data required by the system and software. The contents of the DRAM are lost when the power goes off, but with MRAM or RRAM it would be possible to instantly resume a computing session even after the machine has been switched off.
Flash memory, commonly found in tablet PCs, already offers persistent storage after the power is removed, but the new chips would outperform flash, according to their developers.
RRAM will eventually deliver 20 times faster write performance, 20 times less power consumption and 10 times more durability than NAND flash memory.
Crossbar says its RRAM will eventually deliver 20 times faster write performance, 20 times less power consumption and 10 times more durability than NAND flash memory.