We’d all love to become less dependent on our phone chargers, but current wireless charging options just aren’t there yet. So, what if we could charge our phones with WIFI? We may call it WiFi charging technology.
Wireless charging devices on the market now use something called electromagnetic induction. First, a coiled wire in a charging pad turns an electric current into a magnetic field. Then that field is received by another coiled wire in your device that turns it back into electricity and charges the battery. But, most of the inductive charging devices we have today require direct or very close contact between the device being charged and the source of the magnetic field. Which doesn’t do much to resolve that feeling of being tethered to an outlet?
And while some researchers are looking for ways to extend the distance of magnetic induction, others are instead looking at how radiofrequency signals (like WIFI) could be used to do the same thing. To clarify, this isn’t new. Researchers have been working on it for a while now. And charging via radiofrequency (or RF) signals actually works pretty similarly to magnetic induction.
How it Works?
First, a transmitter (think: your WIFI router) sends out an RF signal. Then, a specially designed rectifying antenna (or rectenna) in your device picks up that signal and converts it into an electric current. This is a super promising technology, but there are some drawbacks that have made developing it challenging.
- The first being
charge. Current WIFI routers don’t emit that much power, and so would be limited to charging low power devices like sensors or fitness trackers. And that would be awesome for applications like the internet of things. But, a new type of RF transmitter is required making RF charging work for things like our phones, as well as installing rectennas in any device we want to charge. That also presents a bit of a chicken or the egg dilemma. Do you install the rectennas first, or the transmitters first?
- Then there’s the issue of distance. The farther away from the transmitter you get, the less power you’ll be able to pick up.
- Finally, all of these systems need to get agencies like the FCC to say they’re safe before they can be sold to consumers. And that can take a lot of time. But despite all of these challenges, we’re seeing a lot of progress.
Also Read: How close are we for a Space Elevator
What we can hope?
One company called Ossia has developed an RF receiver and transmitter duo called Cota. Your phone,
Another promising design is from a company called Energous. Their technology called WattUp can charge small devices with RF energy at a distance of 3 ft and it’s already gotten FCC approval. They also have a newer version in the works that claim to charge more devices at a new distance of 15ft, even more. A new study from MIT has found a way to make rectennas flexible and do it with cheaper materials. Which could mean wearables powered by WIFI?, we may call it WiFi charging technology.
All in all, it doesn’t seem like we’re that far off from real wireless charging at a distance and ditching those phone chargers once and for all. So, what do you guys think? Would you buy one? One last thing. We only had time to talk about induction and RF charging, but some researchers are also working on wireless charging with infrared light. Man, the future is going to be awesome and is the WiFi charging technology.