Power play: Wireless charging at a distance arrives

By , Computerworld |  Mobile & Wireless, wireless charging

Yet another wireless charging vendor, New Zealand-based Power by Proxy, today announced it acquired the key wireless power patent portfolio from the University of Auckland via its commercialization company UniServices. The portfolio includes 122 patents for portable consumer electronics devices, semiconductors and batteries.

Power by Proxi's co-founder and CEO Greg Cross said devices using the Qi specification require precise placement on a charging pad, while his company's "loosely-coupled" wireless technology allows multiple devices to be recharged at the same time, regardless of the position on an induction pad.

Unlike other wireless charging vendors, Power By Proxi got its start four years ago selling large-scale systems for commercial industries such as construction, telecommunications, defense and agriculture. For example, one product is a wireless control system for wind turbines. "As we've started to work with market analysts over the last couple of years, there's an increasing recognition that the potential size of the industrial components market is at least as large as products in the consumer electronics market," Cross said.

Power by Proxi is now focusing efforts on the retail market with miniaturized devices that fit inside a AA battery.

In contrast, WiTricity's technology offers charging from feet away.

To date, few companies have offered wireless charging at distance. In 2008, Intel Labs demonstrated chip technology that could wirelessly charge mobile devices. Intel's Wireless Charging Technology (WCT) would let a user charge a smartphone wirelessly from a notebook PC by placing it right next to the device. Last month, Intel announced a partnership with Integrated Device Technology Corp. (IDT) to develop chipsets for WCT products. Products using the chipsets are expected to arrive in 2013, Intel said.

Fujitsu had also announced it would be shipping magnetic resonance-based wireless charging systems this year. This week, however, a Fujitsu spokesperson said there was nothing new to report on the technology.

Distance debate

Menno Treffers, chairman of the Wireless Power Consortium, said that, in general, the distance a wireless charger can emit power roughly mimics a charging coil's diameter. So, for example, a 10-inch coil would be able to charge a device up to 10 inches away.


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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