Wireless device aims to make phone chargers obsolete


Now that mobile device users are becoming accustomed to ubiquitous Wi-Fi connectivity, the next step may be wireless charging stations. An Israeli startup called Wi-Charge is creating a wireless charging “hotspot” and envisions it installed in airports and coffee shops as well as homes and offices.

The Wi-Charge hotspot will use photovoltaic cells to charge phones using infrared light beams. The catch is that the device needs a Wi-Charge receiver in order to take advantage of wireless charging. Wi-Charge says that it will sell the receivers as phone accessories, and believes that they will eventually be included as built-in device components. The company plans to have its first products on the market in late 2014 or early 2015.

Infrared light is of course a source of radiation, but Wi-Charge says this is not a concern. It says its charging hotspot will only transmit to the intended receiver, which can be as small as a phone camera.

Wi-Charge believes that just as mobile devices today find Wi-Fi hotspots automatically, tomorrow’s devices will identify wireless charging stations and recharge themselves automatically. The company envisions a future in which devices charge themselves spontaneously throughout the day, and the user never needs to plug them into anything.

The Israeli company calls its technology a distributed resonator, which it says solves two problems inherent in existing solutions that use light to charge remote objects. Safety is one problem and the other is direction: the light must be aimed precisely at the object to be charged in order for current solutions to work. Wi-Charge says the distributed resonator solves both these problems by using mirrors placed with line-of-sight of one another. The company says the solution is safe because a foreign object between the two mirrors stops amplification immediately, since the photons cannot resonate through an obstacle.

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Martha DeGrasse

Wireless Infrastructuremdegrasse@rcrwireless.com Martha DeGrasse has been creating content for RCR Wireless News since 2011. Recent feature reports include Building Tomorrow's Neworks, Outdoor DAS and Small Cell Case Studies, Wireless Infrastructure Service Company Review, and Investing in HetNets. (All of these can be found by clicking on Reports at the top of this page.) At RCR, Martha also developed the 5 Things to Know Today series and the Mobile Minute. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York. Martha left Dow Jones to move to Austin, Texas, where she managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Follow her on Twitter @mdegrasseRCR