Wireless charging? TI says it's within reach

Wireless charging? TI says it's within reach

Summary: Texas Instruments' new single-chip wireless power receiver promises "faster, more efficient" mobile charging and a greater charge area to boot.

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TOPICS: Emerging Tech
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It's no overstatement to say that the holy grail of the consumer electronics world is wireless charging.

The technology, which exists today, would free us from our wires for good. After all, if data can be transmitted over the air, why can't electricity, too?

But adoption of the technology has been slow, owing to its many limitations. Texas Instruments says its new single-chip wireless power receiver has an integrated battery charger and a new "free-position" transmitter integrated circuit that expands the charge area by 400 percent.

TI says the circuitry in its bq51050B receiver allows for improved wireless charging (for portable devices such as smartphones or wireless keyboards) and the use of the technology in more places, citing automotive consoles, charging pads and office furniture. Some of TI's newest hardware is in the new Nokia Lumia 920 and Nokia Lumia 820 smartphones.

(If you're an engineer, know that TI is particularly proud of managing to combine everything in a single integrated circuit, rather than off-loading battery charging to another circuit.)

That's not to say you should throw out your coveted but analog Aeron chair just yet. TI's wireless power transfer controller improves charging area to up to 2.7 inches (or 70 millimeters) from the center -- a big improvement, but hardly across the office floor.

Still, baby steps.

Topic: Emerging Tech

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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7 comments
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  • Finally, we "sort of" caught up with what Nikola Tesla

    Finally, we "sort of" caught up with what Nikola Tesla invented 100 years ago. We're 100 years behind him, but that's OK I guess. Better late than never, right? Now, hurry up and get the rest of his inventions up and running as well. We suck!
    ihsancem@...
    • Tesla's Power-Transmission Schemes Were Destined To Fail

      Not to understate his genius in some spheres but his wild-assed dreams of long distance omnidirectional power transmissions were doomed to failure by the the laws of physics. This new wireless charging stuff is still nothing but a opened up switching power supply and an inefficient one at that I'll wager. There is probably a good reason that nobody is touting this technology as 'green' solution in a time when others are telling us to unplug everything in sight for fear of a few mW of parasitic power draw at the plug is dooming the planet. Exactly how much power goes into this setup and how much of winds up doing useful work on the other end?
      zdnet@...
    • High-intensity X-Rays and Gamma rays are unhealthy

      Having read quite a bit about Tesla's techniques, it's quite obvious from a modern understanding that what he was doing was attempting to transmit power using high-energy extremely short wavelength radio waves, without actually knowing that that was what he was doing. The problem is that those extremely short wavelength radio waves are UV, X-Rays, and Gamma rays, and all of them are incredibly unhealthy for people. We can excuse him because he didn't know, but in a way, we're luck that we didn't go that way.
      mheartwood
  • My Wii Remote charging station is semi wireless

    I have a Wii remote charging station that charges my Wii Remotes without the batteries physically connecting to the charger. Sure the charger needs to be plugged into the wall but all I have to do is place the Wii Remote on the charging pad and be done.
    ccfman2004
  • Wireless charging...

    HP TouchPad. That is all.
    JustinTyime
  • Oh boy...

    That is A LOT of electrons going through the air. Don't be surprised if there are more lightning storms in the future and more people die from strikes.
    Parafrost
    • No electrons, just radio waves

      The system uses a long-wave magnetic wave to charge things wirelessly. However, when you generate magnetic waves, you are generating radio waves. So no electrons are actually moving through the air. Electrons in the path may move back and forth, but they don't actually go anywhere.
      mheartwood