We've seen plenty of wireless devices push their way into the mainstream, so it's likely that the University of Tokyo 's wireless electricity induction sheet is indicative of how we'll be charging gadgets in ten years' time.

The power sheet, created by Takao Someya , uses the same kind of electromagnetic induction found in electric toothbrush chargers, but over a much larger area. The important new development is its ability to supply the necessary amounts of power to precise points on the sheet.

Previously, similar induction sheets delivered power spread weakly across their entire surface area. The new sheet means a full charge can be directed where needed - say, to a PDA sitting on one corner - and the unoccupied space need not be wasting electricity.

Once such technology can be mass-produced reliably it's a racing certainty that our electrical devices will come equipped with the electronics needed to harvest the juice, making multiple wall chargers a thing of the past. J Mark Lytle