Smart homes are now the vision.
It was once envisioned that both electricity and data would travel wirelessly around the world. As you are aware, one of those has become part of our daily lives but the other has fallen short. Recently a few startups have dabbled into this proposition with an in-room wireless transmission of power. uBeam is one of those groups and it focuses on using ultrasound to send wireless data, but it has not proven commercially viable for consumer devices yet so the company is planning to refocus.
Recently, Wi-Charge rolled out infrared technology to transmit wireless power over the space of a few meters. This technology works by using a transmitter, which scans the room for eligible receivers. Once a connection is made, it locks in and starts delivering up to two watts of power which is enough to charge that phone in your hand. Even an LED a few feet away was being powered along with a battery dock for an Amazon Echo Dot. The second generation of this product is underway.
Wi-Charge technology uses infrared light which has to have a clear line of sight in order to work. This now rules out something as simple as charging your phone while it’s in your pocket. In fact, the company is passing on smartphones altogether for now since it recognized the main issue it must overcome. This type of tech has such a heavy reliance on light that is avoids any interference with other radio signals such as Wi-Fi. The focus now is on smaller stationary objects that need a steady supply of power but are usually in the most inconvenient places to plug in. A few examples include a wall-mounted security camera, smart locks, digital photo frames and motorized shades. Most of these items exceed the power requirements, but transmitters could charge a better that could output enough juice to operate the device throughout the day. Qi wireless charging is one of the main focuses for Apple and this tech just merely shifts the location of the plug. A Qi pad that acted as a Wi-Charge receiver could be places around the room and open up the door to a variety of settings including but not limited to, Qi-enabled furniture