Engineers Develop Innovative Wireless Charging Sheet that Can be Cut to Any Shape

Researchers have now come up with a new innovative system to wirelessly charge electronic devices such as smartphones and smart-watches. Developed at the University of Tokyo, the method involves a cuttable, flexible power transfer sheet which charges devices wirelessly and can be molded or even cut with scissors to fit different-shaped surfaces and objects.

The research idea is that of Ryo Takahashi of the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, a master's student whose previous study of robotics inspired him to pioneer ways to power devices such as robots or smartphones simply and easily. This path led him towards the creation of the first-ever cuttable wireless power transfer sheet. It might seem strange to invent something just so it can be cut to pieces, but the idea is users can reshape the sheet to fit whatever surface upon which they wish to charge devices.

According to Takahashi, one can do more than just cut this sheet into fun or interesting shapes. The sheet is thin and flexible so it can be molded around curved surfaces such as bags and clothes. The idea is that anyone could transform various surfaces into wireless charging areas. The clever design which allows these novel features is also what separates this idea from existing contactless power chargers. Both systems use conductive coils in the charger to induce a current in corresponding coils in the device. But the cuttable sheet is not only much thinner but has a wider usable charging area thanks to the way the coils are designed. These coils are also wired in such a way that provided enough of them remain intact after the sheet is cut to shape, they can still charge a device.

Currently, a 400-millimeter (15.75-inch) square sheet provides about 2 to 5 watts of power, enough for a smartphone. But the researchers think they could get this up to tens of watts or enough for a small computer. In just a few years, they expect to see this sheet embedded in furniture, toys, bags and clothes.

The research, A Cuttable Wireless Power Transfer Sheet - Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies, Volume 2, Issue 4, was carried out by Ryo Takahashi, Takuya Sasatani, Fuminori Okuya, Yoshiaki Narusue, and Yoshihiro Kawahara. Click here to see demonstration video.