Batteries and Portable Power

CES Power Highlights – Wireless Charging

Wireless charging was one of the most-active areas for technology/business news and new products during this week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Among the companies making announcements were MediaTek, Inc., ConvenientPower, HK Ltd., WiTricity Corp., and Integrated Device Technology, Inc. (IDT). Evatran Group, Inc., in partnership with Bosch Automotive Service Solutions, announced at CES that it is offering reduced promotional pricing to the first 250 customers who opt to Go PLUGLESS with their electric vehicle (EV) experience. PowerbyProxi, Inc. announced a technology licensing agreement with Texas Instruments, Inc. to leverage PowerpyProxi/s resonant and closely coupled wireless power expertise and patents.

And (as reported by on the opening day of CES) the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) announced the official launch of its global Rezence certification program and that a number of companies have been granted certification of product submissions. Companies meeting requirements for certification include Samsung Electronics, Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co., Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., and Gill Electronics. A4WP showcased Rezence based products along with an integrated wireless charging experience at the A4WP lifestyle lounge in the South Hall.

MediaTek tackled the problems associated with choosing between competing wireless charging standards with its introduction of multimode receiver technology for inductive and resonant charging using in-band communications. Traditionally, wireless charging has been done through tightly coupled technology, commonly referred to as inductive. MediaTek’s solution has adopted loosely coupled technology, commonly referred to as resonance, and offers significant advantages over today’s inductive approach.

The major benefits include: charging devices with freedom of movement with easy, imprecise placement of the device; charging multiple devices concurrently from a single affordable charger coil; charging different sized devices with largely different power needs from the same charger; charging different devices with vastly different form factors free of the need for precise coil to coil alignment; and charging devices across distances, through furniture or even walls. Along with the highly differentiated resonance solution MediaTek brings innovative multimode receiver technology that enable users to charge their devices from existing inductive chargers or new resonance chargers.

Mark Estabrook, Director of Strategic Marketing at MediaTek, is anticipating an expanded ease of use and convenience for users turning to multimode resonant charging solutions. “Most analysts agree that the adoption of wireless power is being slowed by competing specifications,” said Estabrook. “MediaTek has developed leading technology that will overcome those specification differences even across such different technologies as induction and resonance.”

ConvenientPower debuted its WoW Z, the world’s first magnetic resonance technology to wirelessly charge Qi mobile phones at distances of up to 18mm, three-times more than today’s Qi solutions allow. Wireless charging at longer distances, with greater efficiency, and with reduced heat generation and energy consumption, has been a demand by consumers and wireless operators in the use of thicker mobile device sleeves and covers because they add to the height through which charging takes place.

Until now, increasing the charging distance through resonance wireless power technology resulted in lower efficiency and has used non-commercialized resonant mobile devices. When increasing the charging distance through induction wireless power technology, the use of repeaters increased installation complexity and cost, a concern to industries implementing wireless charging in public locations, furniture, cars, and planes.

WiTricity introduced the first system for wireless charging of consumer devices such as the iPhone5 using the company's patented highly resonant wireless power transfer technology. The WiTricity charging system for the iPhone 5/5s includes a wireless charging hub and a charging sleeve that fits an iPhone 5 or 5s. Similar to other protective covers, the WiTricity sleeve quickly slides onto an iPhone 5/5s and is powered when in proximity to the WiTricity charging hub. Capable of charging two phones concurrently, the charging hub can be placed on top of a table as an upright or flat charging pad, or mounted underneath a table or desk for charging through the surface. By mounting the charging pad under a surface, smartphone users are freed from the tangle of charging cords and cluttered desktops.

Traditional inductive charging pads have seen limited acceptance because they require very accurate placement of the mobile phone on the charging pad, while taking up valuable tabletop real estate. In contrast, the WiTricity system provides:

Positional Freedom: Simply place an iPhone 5/5s in its charging sleeve in proximity to the charging hub and the phone charges as quickly as plugging in. Unlike induction pads, there's no need to position the iPhone exactly in a specific location on the charging hub.

Multiple Device Charging: Using a single coil, the WiTricity system allows multiple devices to be charged simultaneously and effectively. With induction-based systems, multiple device charging on a single pad requires multiple coils, driving up the cost of the charging system.

Installation Flexibility: Unlike induction mats or other chargers that require physical contact and placement on top of a table or other surface or major modifications to the table or counter the WiTricity charging hub can simply be affixed under a table while providing power to the phone through the tabletop. Any table, desk, or counter can be turned into a wireless charging "hotspot" without unsightly clutter or requiring drilling or cutting into the underside or through the surface.

"Our team is thrilled to introduce the first wireless charger that works over distance," said Eric Giler, CEO of WiTricity. "We've seen the transformative nature of our foundational highly resonant wireless power transfer technology in the automotive, medical and military fields, and now plan to change the game in consumer electronics. This is an incredibly exciting time for resonant wireless power, and we're excited to be leading the charge to a wireless future.”

IDT announced the industry’s first Qi-compliant single-chip wireless power transmitter solution supporting a 5V input. The highly-integrated solution enables the development of USB-powered wireless charging bases with 75% fewer ICs than competing solutions. IDT’s transmitter solution is ideal for use in wireless charging systems that seek to take advantage of a universal power port while minimizing system complexity and physical size.

The IDTP9038 is a single-chip wireless power transmitter IC compatible with the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) 1.1 "Qi" standard for A5 and A11 coil configurations, enabling OEMs to develop charging bases that are fully compatible with any Qi-compliant portable device. The device operates with a 5V input, allowing it to be powered by any standard USB port, USB wall adapter, or traditional 5V adapter.

WiTricity Corp. , PowerbyProxi , MediaTek Inc. , Integrated Device Technology, Inc. , ConvenientPower HK Ltd.
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