The Defense Sciences Office (DSO) of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is seeking ideas that may support a new DARPA program to demonstrate concepts and technologies to dramatically increase the Department of Defense's (DoD) technology for short-range (less than two meters) wireless transmission of power. The US Marine Corps and the US Army have determined that the increased use of critical portable electronics on the battlefield has led to an increase in the number and types of batteries Warfighters are required to carry for essential electronics equipment such as communications, positioning, and targeting. Warfighters on single-day missions may carry anywhere from five to ten pounds of batteries of various form factors to maintain functionality of critical gear. At present, portable power technologies exist with better energy-to-weight ratios than the state-of-the-art batteries currently being used, but these solutions have lower efficiency when scaled down to commonly used batteries such as the AA and CR123 form factors. Cable-linked power management systems have proven useful in consolidating the number of batteries used by a Warfighter to a single high-capacity source that feeds power to individual pieces of equipment via a power cable. However, technologies using power cables have proven cumbersome, limit Warfighter mobility, decrease mission flexibility, and are not favored by soldiers who have used them.
DARPA is interested in receiving detailed submissions that provide new insights, approaches and concepts for the wireless transmission of power from a single high-capacity energy source carried by the Warfighter to all of the associated peripheral electronics gear. One possible implementation of the system is to have a high-energy fuel cell or rechargeable battery mounted to the pack or vest and to have the power produced by that centralized energy source wirelessly transmitted to the various electronics equipment the Warfighter carries such as: vest mounted radios, handheld GPS units, and rifle mounted night-vision scopes. This wireless power distribution hub concept allows the power source to be physically separated from the multitude of portable electronics carried during a mission, and reduces the logistical burden associated with fielding multiple battery types for each individual piece of electronics equipment. Responses should detail concepts with the potential for efficient, portable, and safe wireless transmission of power.