IRL LAB / Undergraduate Research Posters Laser Power Beaming in Smart Homes
jessieJessie Bryant
BS Mechanical Engineering (2017)
Washington State University
REU Participant (2015)

Abstract: Laser power beaming is the method of charging devices by transmitting energy via the high density light of a laser. This project focuses on using this technology to power sensors in smart homes in order to eliminate the need for wired connections and the replacement of batteries. Instead, the sensors can be charged remotely. The system involves two major parts: the base and the receiver. The base houses the camera, computer system, low-power visible laser, high-power near infrared laser, and beam directing mirrors powered by small motors. The receiver’s main component is the silicon based vertical-multijunction photovolatic cells designed for high light concentrations and high voltage outputs. These cells are centered between two LED lights for positioning and are part of a circuit connected to a capacitor for storing the acquired energy. To charge, the camera first locates the visible laser and LEDs, signals the motors, and lines the laser up with the midpoint of the LEDs, targeting the receiving cells. Once in place, the visible laser is dismissed while the near infrared laser powers on and begins transmitting energy. By our calculations, this system has the capability to charge sensors within smart homes. With minor alterations, it could be used for many other purposes as well, whether stationary objects or moving targets are involved. Over 10 million iRobot Roombas have been purchased worldwide, and in the future, this home charging system could be integrated into a similar autonomous multipurpose robot.