The idea of wireless power transfer is hardly new. Nikola Tesla demonstrated a version of it a hundred years ago, and inductive chargers for electric toothbrushes and video game controllers are now widespread. But the inductive chargers available today work over only very short distances and require physical contact between the charger and electronic device, which isn’t much more convenient than plugging a device in.
Witricity is one of a handful of companies working to extend the range of electric chargers. The company has developed a prototype table that charges devices placed anywhere on its surface—even if they remain inside a backpack or purse—and a wireless keyboard and mouse that can be powered from a computer monitor, eliminating the need for batteries. (Apple has patented a similar idea.) The company has also developed a charger for electric cars. It’s a half-meter-wide pad that sits on the floor of a garage—just drive over it, and the car starts to charge.