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WiTricity's new wireless power system can recharge your iPhone through your desk

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Short-range wireless power for portable devices came one step closer to production Tuesday with WiTricity's unveiling of an iPhone-targeted reference design for the group's resonant energy transfer system.

WiTricity


Like other wireless charging options for Apple's handsets, WiTricity's demonstration system consists of a plastic sleeve that envelops the device and a charging hub that acts as a sort of wireless power "base station." WiTricity's resonant inductive coupling technology, however, provides several benefits over competitive systems.

Consumers using charging platforms based on WiTricity's technology would not need to place their iPhone directly on the charging pad, for instance, merely in its immediate vicinity. Power transmission is not affected by materials like wood or glass, meaning that?the pad could be mounted underneath a table or desk to provide power for devices resting on the top.

In addition, WiTricity's proof-of-concept can charge multiple devices from a single coil. Traditional direct induction systems -- like those AppleInsider profiled last month --?require a separate coil for each device, increasing the size and cost of the charging pads.

"Our team is thrilled to introduce the first wireless charger that works over distance," WiTricity chief Eric Giler said in a statement. "We've seen the transformative nature of our foundational highly resonant wireless power transfer technology in the automotive, medical and military fields, and now plan to change the game in consumer electronics."

WiTricity's system is similar to wireless power approaches previously patented by Apple, in which the company suggests turning existing desktop devices, such as an iMac, into resonant energy transformers. "In this way, a realistic and practical approach to wireless transferring useable amounts of power over distances suitable for limited applications can be realized," the Cupertino company wrote in one such filing.
post #2 of 13
If I have to put a sleeve on it what's the point? Plugging it in is too easy to make spending money on a needless device make any sense at all.
post #3 of 13
Very interesting tech. Seems to be the better of the various induction technologies currently available (if this proof of concept works as advertised of course).
post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gladman View Post

If I have to put a sleeve on it what's the point? Plugging it in is too easy to make spending money on a needless device make any sense at all.

 

Agreed. Lose the sleeve, then you have my attention.

post #5 of 13
What a waste of time and money.

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post #6 of 13
After buying an iPhone case that has a stand, aka ZeroChroma, I cannot bring myself to buying any other iPhone case that doesn't have one. Way too useful for me to trade.
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post #7 of 13

The only way to lose the sleeve is if they swap out the iPhone's casing with one of their own. The way I understand wireless charging is that they have a flat-coil in backside of the sleeve, and another flat coil in the charging pad which generates an oscillating magnetic field creating current in the iPhone's coil.

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post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gladman View Post

If I have to put a sleeve on it what's the point? Plugging it in is too easy to make spending money on a needless device make any sense at all.

 

Agreed. Lose the sleeve, then you have my attention.

 

It does make the arrangement much less attractive but there is no way around it at present, since the iPhone itself has no inductive charging circuit.

post #9 of 13
Yet another "wireless" solution... that still has a big 'ol WIRE! At least you can theoretically hide the wire in this case.

But what does it really save you? The labor of plugging/unplugging? That's worth something to me--but not much.
post #10 of 13
Same comment as the rest ...

Also... Do these coils and their fields affect electronics in other ways?
post #11 of 13
I have been using one of the new Fonesalesman iQi with my iPhone 5 for a few weeks. It is very thin, about paper thick. It plugs into the Lightning socket and raps around the back of the phone, located inside your phone case. As advertised, with a soft case there is no problems charging via a coolpad charging pad. I tried with a hard case but it would only charge for a short while and then stop. I was not surprised as Fonesalesman don't recommend hard cases for your iPhone with their wireless charger. What is not practical is to keep plugging and unplugging the iQi. I don't have a problem with this as everything else I do is via wifi or Bluetooth, so I don't really need Lighting cables any more. I have found the ability to charge my phone at my desk without plugging and unplugging all the time really helpful because I am often leave the office 4 or 5 times a day and like to the ability to just pick the phone up and go. The idea of a hard case with an iQi built in and extra battery would be of interest.
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

It does make the arrangement much less attractive but there is no way around it at present, since the iPhone itself has no inductive charging circuit.

Exactly, so one has to wonder if that might one day come to iDevices, courtesy of Apple to partner an Apple made base station.
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Long on AAPL so biased. Strong advocate for separation of technology and politics on AI.
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post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

It does make the arrangement much less attractive but there is no way around it at present, since the iPhone itself has no inductive charging circuit.

Exactly, so one has to wonder if that might one day come to iDevices, courtesy of Apple to partner an Apple made base station.

 

If I were to guess, then yes, one day we will see resonant inductive charging (unless anything better comes along - though there are no obvious candidates yet) incorporated into these devices. The energy overhead is quite low, and simply placing a phone on a mat or in the vicinity of a charging station is the kind of elegant convenience that Apple values.

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