It’s fair to say that wireless charging has yet to catch up with the advances we’ve made in mobile technology. But Israeli start-up, Wi-Charge, believes they can do something about it — using infrared technology.
Generally, wireless tech can be classified as near field and far field. Today, we see near field technology in close-range wireless charging options. Far field technology also exists, but are all in the very early stages of development. And while they offer more distance and more power, they're still largely limited. Wi-Charge aims to change that.
Wi-Charge’s approach uses a transmitter mounted on the ceiling that converts energy into infrared light. The light then gets beamed across an open area where a device receives the light and converts it into energy. The result is a wireless, dockless charging solution that can power devices with the same ease with which people connect to Wi-Fi — but without a password.
The Future of Wireless Charging
Wi-Charge’s technology can also deliver a wide range of wattage — from a few milliwatts capable of powering small sensors, to hundreds of watts, which can be used in industrial or even military applications. In contrast, Yank Tech’s The MotherBox is promising to provide wireless charging for Android and iOS devices at a rate of two to 10 watts, depending on the distance. The added power of Wi-Charge's infrared system allows its applications to broaden beyond making sure everyone’s smartphones don't die in the middle of a Netflix show.
This kind of charging capacity and capability could lend itself to our efforts to further the adoption of electric vehicles, as it would enable electric cars to support long-range driving.
Wi-Charge's novel approach does have some disadvantages, though. Because it uses light from lasers to deliver energy, you won’t be able to charge devices if they're inside a purse or your pocket. But considering typical smartphone habits, where we usually have our phones in our hands or on a table, Wi-Charge technology will likely be able to beam energy into our devices. Many of Wi-Charge's products are still in Beta testing, so it may be a while before they can brighten our lives.