Cyclists are fond of saying, “it costs nothing and makes you thin” but now thanks to Royal College of Art graduate Offer Canfi, bicycles can also charge your gadgets. Canfi’s Flux project utilizes resonant inductive coupling – a method of transmitting electrical energy without man-made conductors – in order to not just charge phones and tablets, but also, it is hoped, to charge electric bikes via inductive bicycle lanes.
Speaking to Dezeen, Canfi said: “This project is focused on resonant inductive bicycle lanes as a first step towards wireless power grids. The road becoming an emitter that can power up electric bicycles, laptops and phones, making batteries redundant.”
The end result, according to Canfi, is to create inductive bicycle lanes which would have high-friction screed surface embedded with emitter coils along sections of road. A current would then be passed through these coils, transferring the energy to similar copper elements on the bicycle mechanism via an oscillating magnetic field.
“A fun fact about resonant induction power transfer is that once the primary and secondary coil are in a state of coupled magnetic field, this field itself becomes an emitter and secondary coils can connect to it as well,” Canfi explained. “The coils that are embedded into the screed turn on when the bicycle comes within range, using a radio-frequency identification (RFID) badge that recognises when the bike is near.”
All of this means that electric bike batteries could be charged on the move, as well as personal gadgets.
“Batteries are still the most expensive, polluting and heavy element of any electric vehicle and that is before you consider their short life cycle and problematic recycling procedures,” said Canfi. “Looking at the growing market for electric bicycles and the emergence of resonant induction as an efficient way to wirelessly transfer electric power, this project was about describing a truly possible future for urban commuting.” The project was recently presented at the Royal College of Art’s annual degree show.