Soumac’s WOW Blog: Waving Goodbye to Charging Pads and Cables

Over the past decade, technology has continued to shrink, and more devices have become portable and powered by batteries.

Despite huge advancements in technology, including battery life, many devices still require a cable to be charged, which seems peculiar, considering technology firms’ obsession with everything being ‘wireless’.

We are all too familiar with the struggles of wired charging, such as frayed cable ends, dust-clogged charging ports and of course, leaving your charger at home when you go out.

What About Wireless Charging?

That being said, wireless charging for mobiles has been around for over a decade, with Samsung introducing its first commercial wireless charger back in 2011.

However, it wasn’t until late September 2017 that the likes of Apple included wireless charging capabilities in their iPhones.

Wireless charging works by creating a small magnetic field that your portable device absorbs to gain energy. When you place your device on a wireless charging pad, a small coil in the device receives and harvests energy from the magnetic field.

Although wireless charging may seem like break-through technology, like wired charging, it still comes with its limitations.

To charge a device wirelessly, it must remain on the wireless charging pad, otherwise, it will not be able to absorb energy from the magnetic field the pad creates.

This can become a nuisance, especially if you receive a lot of calls and have to keep picking up your phone.

In addition, many wireless chargers take longer to charge, as accessories such as cases, can interfere with the energy absorption and not allow the device to charge to its full potential.

Waving Goodbye to Charging Pads and Cables

Chinese tech giant, Xiaomi, has recently introduced a new form of charging – Mi Air Charge Technology.

This state-of-the-art charging technology has revolutionised current wireless charging methods and enables users to charge their devices without the need for cables and pads.

But how? Xiaomi’s technology works in two parts.

Charging Pile

The core technology of Xiaomi’s remote charging lies in space positioning and energy transmission.

The tech giant has developed a charging pile consisting of five-phase interference antennas that can accurately detect the location of the smartphone.

A phase control array composed of 144 antennas then transmits millimetre-wide waves directly to the phone through beamforming.

Miniaturised Antenna

In Xiaomi’s smartphone lies a miniatured antenna array with a built-in ‘beacon antenna’ and ‘receiving antenna array’.

The beacon antenna broadcasts information on the positioning of the device, whilst the receiving antenna array – composed of 14 antennas – converts the millimetre-wide wave signals from the charging pile into electric energy.

At present, Xiaomi’s technology is capable of 5-watt remote charging for a single device, and multiple devices can be charged from a single charging beacon.

Xiaomi’s remote charging technology

The Soumac View

Xiaomi’s remote charging technology currently only works with its smartphone.

However, they have plans to implement the technology in their smartwatches, bracelets, and other wearable devices.

This remote charging technology could be manipulated to work with all household devices such as TVs, speakers, and laptops to create a truly wireless future.

We are excited to see how Xiaomi’s technology will develop over time, and how it could be implemented in homes and offices.

At Soumac, we love to see the technological developments being made across all sectors and are always on hand to support businesses with their printed circuit board assembly needs to help bring their ideas to life.

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