Wireless charging has come a long way over the past few years, but it has many miles to go. As Peter Clarke pointed out in a recent EE Times article, proponents believe 2013 could be a big year for the technology. Who can deny the appeal of a world free from the ubiquitous power cords that weigh us down today, frequently misplaced when needed and rarely interchangable?
But amid a tangle (no pun intended) of proprietary technologies and looming battles over standards, there are still more questions than answers in the world of wireless charging. Big name technology firms are picking their horses, positioning themselves for the fight ahead.
Some believe that wireless power will one day operate very much like Wi-Fi does today—as you walk into a room, your mobile device will lock into a source of wireless power and steadily recharge as you go about your business. But, in addition to giving a lot of people the heebie jeebies, that notion just isn't very realistic, according to Greg Cross, Executive Chairman of Power by Proxi, a spinout from New Zealand's University of Auckland that markets wireless charging technology.
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"We see wireless power as a proximity-based system, not a broadcast system," Cross said. "When you are trying to broadcast wireless power over long distances, it's going to be very inefficient and you are going to have to be very careful if you are going to meet the safety standards."
Power by Proxy announced Wednesday (Oct. 31) that it secured exclusive rights to a wireless power patent portfolio from the University of Auckland for wireless power technology is for portable consumer electronics (CE) devices, semiconductors and batteries. The company, which has worked on more than 50 projects for 30 different customers, has found most of its success in applications for wireless components, which Cross said may end up being every bit as large or larger than the market for wireless charging in consumer electronics.