The Truth About Wireless Charging [Video]
Video uploaded by Real Engineering on February 23, 2018
WIRELESS CHARGING. SOMETHING’S IN THE AIR
Wireless is the definition of our era. Everything is going wireless: controls, accessories, internet, landline phones, and house appliances.
Yes, radio was the first to go wireless. First, we had wireless music, and news, and soap operas. Now, we’re approaching wireless charging. It will look like magic, won’t it? Grabbing energy from the air to charge your device.
There are three and only three types of wireless charging: close-range, mid-range, and long-range.
Currently, we enjoy close-range wireless charging only. Samsung, and some Chinese A-brands, include this feature in their gadgets. It is called inductive charging. The energy is transferred through the electromagnetic field. The technology is tested and certified to meet the highest safety regulations. What’s more, it’s easy to design and manufacture. Even Ikea installed the wireless chargers in their floor lamps.
The thing is, close-range wireless charging is not wireless as such. The mat or the lamp shelf you place your smartphone on should be plugged in. You don’t plug in the gadget itself, but the charger does need a connecting cable to get some juice. In a way, close-range wireless charging can be defined even as less mobile than the conventional cable. Manufacturers have to make the phones’ backs from inductive materials, and those are very easy to heat. While being charged, your gadget will be very, very hot. Induction cooktops work the same way to heat pans.
Mid-range wireless charging is based on the principles of resonance charging. Nikola Tesla was the first, we believe, to create and develop this technology in the 1930s, but there wasn’t any demand for it at the time. To spare you the techie details, the energy is transformed into the radio waves and back. Rumor has it, Apple is trying to implement the NFC range technology for wireless charging. This way, the gadget will require the power emitter plugged in somewhere up to several feet away from you. The iPhone 8 is expected to feature this technology. One more step towards the freedom from the cables web. But, not quite.
The real freedom will be granted by the long-range wireless charging. This technology is yet to come. Various developers have tried radio waves, ultrasound, and infrared light. For example, the Wi-Charge company promotes infrared emitters installed somewhere on the ceiling. To charge, the phone or other device will have to feature a special sensor to catch the power beam. The emitters are to detect the capacity of the batteries and the charge level. The whole process will be automated. The only thing you’ll have to do is to stay in the line of sight of the emitter. Alas, this technology is not ready for the market yet. The critical issue is the effectiveness of this charge. A lot of energy is dissipated in the environment on the way to the battery, and this will increase power consuming in a cascade. Besides, the light beams are easy to block or to warp. Radio waves can cripple other wireless gadgets work due to the phenomenon of interference. In other words, if you have a wireless headset, a Wi-Fi router, and a wireless charger, keyboard and mouse, the radio waves will elbow each other like the subway passengers during rush hour.
On the other hand, wireless charging is a pleasant bonus, not a crucial feature. The gravest problem is the batteries’ capacity. We need more and more juice, and really look for large and durable power units. Our blog promises to look into this problem as well. Stay tuned!