A major leap forward in mobile phone charging is about to be unleashed and we will soon see our homes and places of work gain a wire free ecosystem.
Several start ups have been developing systems that will charge electronic devices wirelessly and without the need for the device to be in close proximity to charging pads, all this could be coming soon.
Here we take a look at three 3D charging systems that are on the cusp of commercial release.
uBeam have developed a wireless charging system that uses ultrasound waves to transmit power. The transmitter would typically be fitted to the ceiling and works much like a speaker, but the sound emitted is high frequency and inaudible to humans and pets.
The receiver works like a microphone, converting the sound vibrations into electricity for charging the phone’s battery. In this system, the phone actively requests power from the transmitter, which directs energy only towards the phone. If the beam is broken by another object, then charging stops until line of sight is once again achieved.
The uBeam wireless charging system is 100% safe, with ultrasound technologies being extensively tested and used for nearly 100 years. This ultrasound system uses 50 times less power than medical ultrasound imaging devices. Should the skin be exposed to the beam then 99.9% of the beam would bounce off skin.
Ultrasound does not interfere with any other technology, so it is also safe for use in hospitals and on planes.
Wi-Charge is a wireless charging system that uses infrared beams of light, emitted from ceiling mounted transmitters. The light is invisible to the human eye and can charge devices anywhere in a room (23 square metres).
The receiver captures light on a photovoltaic cell and converts the light into electricity, in much the same way that solar panels do. 100% of the power transmitted reaches the receiver, which can be built into a device, a phone case or built into a micro-USB or Lightning connected plugin.
The charging process is automatically managed by the transmitter, which can find chargeable devices, even if the device’s battery is drained.
Beta testing is underway, so the emergence of this tech is just around the corner.
Marty Cooper, who built the first mobile phone in 1973, has just joined the board of Energous, indicating that the WattUp wireless charging system is being developed for use in mobile phones.
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The US government has granted the company permission to develop wireless charging that works through radio (RF) waves. This system would be capable of charging up to 12 devices within a 10 metre edge-to-edge space, including phones, laptops, tablets and wearables.
In this system, the device sends a message to a WattUp transmitter, requesting that it should send energy to it, via a radio frequency. The WattUp receiver in the device then converts the RF into electrical energy in order to charge the battery.
The energy waves are dynamically directed to the device, through multiple antennas in the transmitter. An app has also been developed for this system, which shows the location of publicly accessible WattUp hotspots.
It appears that a wireless world is inevitable and could very well become a reality in this decade.
Today’s concern is that these three wireless charging system are completely incompatible with each other. The success of each could very well lie in the hands of which mobile phone manufactures choose to incorporate the technology in their smartphones.
Written by: Michael Brown