LaserMotive lights up first product — transmitting power over fiber with lasers

LaserMotive, a company known for using lasers to transmit power through the air, is expanding to a new medium: fiber-optic cables.

The system uses a laser to convert electricity into light for transmission over fiber optics. On the other end, a photovoltaic receiver converts light back into electricity.

The company, based south of Seattle in Kent., Wash., this morning announced the first in a new line of products that will use lasers to transmit power over fiber-optic cables without a traditional electrical connection. The company says its new “MicroPoF” system can transmit power measuring a few watts, or hundreds of watts, over fiber as long as 3,000 feet.

It’s the first commercial product to be offered for sale by LaserMotive, which was founded in 2007 by a group of physicists and engineers, winning the NASA Centennial Challenges Power Beaming Challenge in 2009. LaserMotive has received NASA contracts and partnered with companies including Lockheed Martin in the process of developing and testing its power-beaming technology.

LaserMotive CEO Tom Nugent calls the new Power over Fiber product “an important milestone in delivering power via lasers for practical use.” He says in a news release, “Being able to provide unlimited energy without electrical wires opens up applications previously impractical or simply impossible.”

Nugent tells GeekWire via email that the company will be selling complete Power over Fiber systems, not licensing the underlying technology. LaserMotive quietly listed the product on its website over the holidays, without any marketing, and has already received strong interest from commercial companies and research labs.

The technology can be used to deliver power in situations where it might otherwise be difficult, including areas with existing high voltages or high magnetic fields. Applications may be found in labs, industrial and telecom facilities, in addition to health-care settings, including MRI machines.

Pricing will depend on specific customer needs. Nugent says the LaserMotive system offers higher power levels and a lower cost-per-watt than alternatives.

LaserMotive is privately held. The company has three employees, with plans to add a few more this year. LaserMotive brought in outside capital in 2011 and plans to raise an angel round this year, Nugent says. Here’s a LaserMotive video showing how the Power over Fiber technology works.

  • http://www.facebook.com/vqnguyen2 Viet Q. Nguyen

    What? Sick. What kind of loss is involved converting electricity to light back to electricity on a 3,000 foot optic fiber?