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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