WiFi Charging In Public: The Future of Power

Turn that TV off you greedy pig! You’re not using it. Unless Doctor Who’s playing- then sit down and pay close attention. Anyone who turns Doctor Who off mid-show does not belong with us… I’m going off topic already. But I’m not sorry, that was a lesson you needed to hear. 

‘I’ve got the power’. Those were the words of the German music group Snap! But you haven’t, have you? You’re charging now, and if you weren’t then you were earlier. But imagine a future where you don’t have to worry about charging when you’re out in public. Are you picturing it? No, really picture it. This article won’t move on until you’ve pictured it. Okay, now we may move on.

Dadada da da da dadada da da da dadada da da da dadada da da I’ve got the power!!!

Yesterday it was reported that a group of researchers at Stanford University, led by Shanhui Fan, had developed a battery which could be wirelessly charged whilst moving up to 1 metre away (WIRED). This is exciting news for the home, and means that instead of being lazy and charging our flattened phones, we can be be lazy and wirelessly charge our phones- possibly even throughout our whole homes eventually. I personally think that lazy people who leave their phones to die (like me) should be punished by having to plug it in. But you know what they say eh? You can’t stop progress. I can’t believe I just used the word eh in an article. I don’t think I even used it in the right context, I just wanted to say it. Can we move on from this?

So with the wireless charging revelations being, um, revealed- here are some models for how long range wireless charging could be implemented in public– to provide on-the-go power seamlessly. Yay.

The Free-At-The-Point-of-Access Model

If we wanted completely publicly owned charging, we’d probably have to renationalise the rail networks also. Why not? Let’s have a nationalisation party…
Imagine walking into your shopping centre, on the train, or the bus- and instantly begin charging your phone. It is all within reach, as we’ve seen the tech is already being developed to make this possible. This free charging anywhere model is possible if the government decide to take the power companies back under public control (this means the government own it instead of private companies). This would allow gov to make the costs of wireless charging payable through taxation– very similar to the NHS. This sounds like a great model, however it would rely on having a left-wing government (such as Labour) who are prepared to take the power companies back under public control- and not in the hands of private corporations- as they currently are.

The Privatised Model

This would be more typical of a right-wing government (such as the Conservatives) and is very similar to the former model, but would rely on a form of subscription or even payment. For example, BT’s public hot-spots which require a sign-in to use could incorporate wireless charging into them. Another possibility is that power companies include a public charging facility which is accessible at a cost, or requires an account to be created. Many people say this would be preferable to the publicly owned model as power would be free from ‘meddling from the state’ and companies would be free to operate in their boundaries and drive the economy forward. However, others say that we can’t rely on big businesses to look after everyone, and that they will always be profit-driven. So there you go.

In summary there are a variety of different ways power could be made available to everyone- and there are legitimate pros and cons for each method. However, I strongly believe that we should aim for the nationalised model, not the privatised one, as this will make sure that our public charging services are run truly for the benefit of the public- and not for profit. We can also say for sure that either way, lazy people will really benefit from it- as they have from the last few years’ tech ‘innovations’.

Go on lazy people, run, be free! Or just sit there, doing nothing. Um, okay. 

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