Is wireless charging the future?
There are over four billion mobile phone users in the world and is expected to grow to five billion by the end of the decade. We’ve all become hugely dependent on this amazing tool, and the feeling of it running out of charge is all too familiar.
Wireless charging is rapidly becoming more popular with smartphone users and with the release of Apples iPhone 8 and iPhone X coming with wireless charging the questions begs to be asked, what is it and do I need it?
What is wireless charging?
First of all, what is wireless charging and how does it work! There is a good chance you are reading this blog from a device that has a battery like your laptop or your phone. All of these devices need to be charged, and for many years we have been using chords and plugs for this. Interestingly, wireless charging or inductive charging has been around for many years in devices like electric toothbrushes and surgically implanted devices like artificial hearts.
“They are charging pads that use tightly-coupled electromagnetic inductive or non-radiative charging; charging bowls or through-surface type chargers that use loosely-coupled or radiative electromagnetic resonant charging that can transmit a charge a few centimeters; and uncoupled radio frequency (RF) wireless charging that allows a trickle charging capability at distances of many feet.” – Lucas Mearian (Senior Reporter, Computerworld).
The two big questions about inductive charging are we’re ones we keep coming back to. Do people really care about the technology and what are the implications of inductive charging becoming popular? Having a fully charged phone wirelessly but non the less stuck to a charging pad barely a convenience! However, companies like Pi (www.picharging.com) are working towards wireless power to multiple devices at a range of up to 33cm. With technology like this around the corner, it seems completely possible that offices of the future with have wireless charging built-in, but consumers still need to see the value in it.
There is, however, one industry where wireless charging will make a meaningful impact. Going to the petrol station or finding a charging point for your vehicle is a legitimate inconvenience. That’s why start-up companies and even companies like BMW and Tesla are beginning to introduce wireless charging. Similar to wirelessly charging a smartphone, a vehicle would drive over a charging pad installed in homes and parking spaces and a receiver at the bottom of the car would charge the car. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlrcPrzuPMM)
Overall wireless charging has certainly come a long way, and arguably it still hasn’t quite had the commercial impact to change the future. Partly this could be due to the challenge that lies in changing consumer habits on a large scale. The other part could simply be a lack of awareness.