Microsoft Research has been working on a proof-of-concept lamp that can charge your smartphone just by placing it on a table, or having it in the same room with the lamp.
The lamp, called AutoCharge, would be fitted to the ceiling or incorporated in furniture or devices. It would feature a number of cameras that could detect a phone’s specific signal and location and it would then shine light on the device; the light could be either visible or infrared.
In tests, the research team at Microsoft managed to charge devices using this lamp at the same rate as regular wired chargers managed to. That’s definitely impressive but the whole project does come with a few catches.
Obviously, the device itself would need to be fitted with solar panels or at least transparent solar coating and it would need to have a clear line of sight towards the AutoCharge lamp. But, that’s not the only problem as efficiency also comes into play.
Sure, it’s good that devices could be charged just as quickly as with wired chargers, but how energy efficient is that process? Basic physics tell us that using electricity to create light which is then used to produce more electricity is in no way a more efficient process that simply plugging the device into a socket.
While this is still a research project and is in no way destined to hit markets in the near future., advances made here might eventually show up down the road.