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An innovation that we will not see soon. Air refill

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Consumer electronics companies dream of a future when power cords and wireless charging surfaces are obsolete.

They dream of a moment when the charge will play like this. As you enter the room,: your smartphone և the other small devices automatically start receiving power from the adjacent transmitter, which may be built into the ceiling light box or connected to the mains. under the table, like a Wi-Fi router.

To dream.

For at least five years, companies have promised that we are almost there. And during the choreographic demonstrations, some even showed that it is possible to charge by air.

But we are not there yet. There are no chargers on the market for smartphones remotely. And it is unclear when they will be!

“There is no debate. For any healthy person, recharging from the air is a dream come true. It will be the most incredible experience, “said Ake Slatnik, CEO of Aira, a wireless charging technology company. “The problem is that there are too many obstacles to make it really practical.”

That did not stop some from trying. Since the beginning of the year, at least four companies have launched the idea of ​​air refilling.

Last month, Chinese smartphone maker Oppo demonstrated “air charging without cables or charging stands.” In the video tutorial, the idea of ​​a company smartphone with an expandable screen seems to continue to charge after being lifted from the folder. In January, Xiaomi consumer electronics giant mocked the Mi Air Charge, which in videos looked like a large white electrical box signifying the beginning of a “real era of wireless charging.” That same month, Motorola unveiled the Remote Charging Station, dubbed the Motorola One Hyper. Tokyo-based Aeterlink has announced Airplug, which it says can power devices up to 65 feet away.

Three of these companies have hit the spotlight on media outlets, although each says it has no plans to launch. Others have abandoned air refilling projects altogether. Some researchers in the field are wondering if people will ever see the vision of remote charging come true.

Companies that want to install air charging centers face several challenges, the most prominent of which is physics. The farther from the direct power source, the lower the charging efficiency. So even if your phone gets some power remotely, it may not be a significant amount of money.

There are also Communications Commission guidelines that limit the amount of radio frequency energy that can flow through the air in your home. Too many can interfere with other devices or lead to various health problems.

Companies that want to introduce air charging to the world are also facing Qi, the wireless charging standard that has already been adopted worldwide. The protocol allows chargers to be released with 15 watts of wireless power so that Apple, Samsung, Huawei and other devices can slowly juice when installed in charging stations.

However, today’s wireless charging centers are far from perfect, leaving room for innovation to address these shortcomings. For example, if your phone does not fit perfectly into the charger, it will not work. That’s why Apple abandoned plans to create an AirPower base in 2019.

That makes the idea of ​​on-air charging so appealing. Companies are looking for ways to make their smartphone charging process more convenient, so your phone does not have to be at the exit or strategically placed on a charging base.

One idea is a remote wireless charger that screws into a lamp socket. It is a product supported by the Israeli company Wi-Charge, which will use infrared light to supply two watts of electricity, enough to stay within safety limits. The company demonstrated the technology at the CES World Technology Summit in 2020 and won awards for innovation in remote charging capabilities.

But bringing that technology to smartphones “will take at least a few years,” says Wi-Charge co-founder Ori Mor.

The mother’s idea is to connect the transmitter to traditional energy sources around the house and convert the electricity into infrared laser beams. The built-in receivers in smartphones turn that light into energy. To work, smartphone makers will need to integrate technology into chargers and phones. Companies in space say it could happen. But smartphone product cycles usually take two years, so launches will take years.

It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. Most people seem to get along well with Qi smartphones. The standard stimulates growth in the overall wireless charging market, which is estimated at $ 4.5 billion.

For now, Wi-Charge is focusing on its retail business, using remote charging technology to power security cameras and smart shelves in US retail stores. The first home-based projects will work in Dallas later this year with smart door locks, Moore said.

Wi-Charge is far from the only company that really works to unleash a wireless system.

Energous, based in San Jose, California, believes that radio frequency charging is the future. Its platform, WattUp, supports power communication, as well as remote charging, the company claims. It could still be years later when smartphones would have chips that would allow that to happen.

“We think it will come step by step. “Contact is the current stage, followed by a shorter air transfer,” said Energous CEO Steve Reeson. “The third stage will be longer distances, up to 10 or 15 feet.”

If smartphones ever get chips for air charging, the batteries may shrink. Who needs a large battery if their phones can be powered 24/7? The move will allow smartphone companies to explore new dimensions.

The long road to using air in consumer electronics has taken WiTricity out of the category. The company showed that remote control charging was possible at CES in 2016, but later focused on electric vehicle airflow because consumer electronics were not developing fast enough, says CEO Alex Gruzen.

It is not at all clear that the world needs air refueling. With the continuous improvement of the smartphone battery, it may not have a significant impact if it ever happened. As a result of this reality, some companies are positioned as halfway.

For example, Aira is a technology provider that provides charging surfaces for all corners of your life. Freepower technology can be built into desks, desks և dashboards to turn them into multi-device charging pads. Typical contact chargers have a concentrated area of ​​the coils that must be aligned with the smartphone to charge. Surfaces with Aira use multiple coils all over the surface – algorithms that track charged devices.

The Aira platform is currently powered by Nomad’s $ 199 Base Station Pro, and the company is partnering with auto parts supplier Morison to deliver the equipment to vehicles. The vision is to collect bits of energy at different points during the day so you do not have to worry about recharging.

“The dream was about freedom, comfort and invisibility,” said Simon McElrian, CEO of Aira and former CEO of Sonic Energy Wireless Charging. “This solves the problem in another way.”

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