Wireless charging? TI says it's within reach

Texas Instruments' new single-chip wireless power receiver promises "faster, more efficient" mobile charging and a greater charge area to boot.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

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.

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