Leaving home while carrying a phone, an iPad and a laptop might also mean lugging along several tangled power cords. Now add radios and GPS devices. Now strap them to your person and wrap the cords around your body beneath your 30-pound armored vest. Oh, and you’re on patrol in Afghanistan, which means there’s no place to plug in when your phone’s batteries start to die. This explains why the Pentagon is keen on eliminating those cables with wireless chargers, and now wants to boost the range to more than 50 feet.
The plan involves spending $5-6 million using the branch’s research and development centers to “increase the efficiency of power transfer over longer distances,” according to an Army statement. If successful, it means that soldiers — instead of being limited to recharging their gadgets when returning to base, or by plugging into their vehicles — could go cordless. That means recharging by a wireless battery attached to their body — no plugs. The Army also hopes to build wireless transmitters on bases, allowing soldier gear to recharge passively, without having to plug anything in. And one day, it might be used on drones.