Wireless charging from A to Z: What you need to know


The term wireless charging has been around since… well, Nikola Tesla attempted to demonstrate it in 1901. For nearly a century after, however, the technology was without many practical uses, except, perhaps, for a few electric toothbrush models.

Over the past decade, wireless charging matured through the formation of various standards groups such as the Wireless Power Consortium, and through mainstream adoption by mobile device makers, such as Samsung in 2014, and finally, Apple in 2017.

To date, wireless charging has consisted of direct-contact charging pads using tightly-coupled induction technology; that combo creates an electromagnetic field between  two copper coils. Induction charging, while widely adopted because of Qi and other specifications, greatly limits the placement of a smartphone or other device on a charging pad. Nevertheless, inductive charging has become the de facto industry standard.

Greater device mobility may be just around the corner with the adoption of magnetic resonance and uncoupled charging, where power is transferred over longer distances between copper coils or through the air via radio frequency (RF), infrared (IR) and ultrasound. All are better suited for charging wearables, IoT devices and even electric vehicles.

Included here are links to stories that help you understand wireless charging, covering everything from the latest multi-device charging pads to whether it can hurt your smartphone or allow that smart watch on your wrist to charge as you walk around.

While direct-contact pads have been the focus of wireless charging lately, the future might actually be more ethereal. Literally.

Wireless charging technology has been around for more than 100 years, but its inclusion in devices such as Apple’s new iPhone line has given it new life. Here’s how it works, and why it could soon show up in everything from homes to robots.

Belkin/IDG

Belkin’s BoosUp wireless charging pad is similar to others on the market in that it contains a copper transmitter charging coil, a chipset to control the power delivered to a device, and foreign object detection technoogy to ensure objects that shouldn’t receive a charge don’t.

With smartphone makers adopting wireless charging for more and more of their devices, many users will be tempted to leave their phones on an inductive charging pad all day. Will that hurt the battery?

Though Apple has still not shipped AirPower, a wireless charging pad capable of powering up three different devices at the same time, there are alternatives already on the market for both iPhones and Android devices.

Belkin Introduces BOOST↑UP Wireless Charging Dock Enhanced For iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR A Belkin

We’ve compiled a list of Qi-enabled chargers – including the new Google Pixel Stand – designed for use with Apple’s latest iPhones and various Android devices.

These wireless chargers for Apple and Android devices offer the option of powering up your smartphone and smartwatch at the same time – though the features and prices differ significantly among them.

wireless chargers2 IDG

While wireless charging is expected to take off during the next decade, Apple’s failure to ship its AirPower device in 2018 could be having a chilling effect on the industry today.

After missing its own deadline for shipping a multi-device wireless charger, industry speculation now has the AirPower charging pad on the assembly line and ready to ship soon.

Apple AirPower Apple’s yet to ship AirPower mat has been marketed as being able to charge an iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods simultaneously.

The new Apple-designed AirPower mat, coming in 2018, can charge iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods simultaneously.

Belkin is targeting corporate users with its wireless charging pad, but there are a few tweaks needed before it’s a perfect fit for the boardroom.

Wireless charging received a big boost from Apple, but pads using tightly coupled charging technology are only the beginning; new markets for IoT, medical and mobile technologies are emerging.

Companies developing wireless charging that can be projected up to several meters away have partnered with electronics industry stalwarts, paving the way for actual product shipments this year.

energous wireless power Energous

Michael Leabman, founder and CTO of Energous, demonstrates how one of the company’s wireless charging routers can send power at midrange and far-range distances.

Wireless charging firm Powermat will join an industry consortium it once competed against and announced the Charging Spot 4.0, which will enable 15-watt power transfers and offer compatibility with new iPhones.

This story, “Wireless charging from A to Z: What you need to know ” was originally published by

Computerworld.

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