Wireless device charging: Endless electronics cables made obsolete

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Wireless device charging: Endless electronics cables made obsolete

Wireless device charging: Endless electronics cables made obsolete

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In the future, device charging may become easier and more convenient through wireless charging.
    • Author:
    • Author name
      Quantumrun Foresight
    • April 19, 2022

    Originally invented in the 19th century, wireless device charging became increasingly important to large digital device and electronics manufacturers during the 2010s as they sought to improve conventional charging systems.

    Wireless device charging context

    Wireless device charging involves charging an electronic device without a plug and cable. Previously, most wireless charging devices resembled a special surface or pad, with the device (often a smartphone) placed on this surface to charge it. As of 2022, smartphones from most major manufacturers have in-built wireless charging receivers, while others require a separate receiver or adapter for compatibility. 

    Wireless device charging works through a process known as electromagnetic induction. A copper induction coil is placed inside the device and is referred to as the receiver. The wireless charger contains a copper transmitter coil. The device is placed on the charger during a wireless charging period and the copper transmitter coil creates an electromagnetic field that the copper induction coil converts to electricity. 

    Disruptive impact

    The integration of wireless charging systems into smartphones and smart devices has continued to accelerate. Consumers have widely accepted wireless charging, and research is ongoing to improve the technology. Presently, the largest wireless charging standard, such as “Qi,” is used by leading smartphone manufacturers including Samsung and Apple. The growing adoption of this technology may drive its further adoption among consumers as well as increased manufacturer competition.

    Several companies are working towards making wireless device charging possible over several meters. For example, Xiaomi announced in January 2021 that its wireless charging system, Mi Air Charging Technology, was capable of working within a radius of several meters. Moreover, the wireless charger can charge multiple devices at 5 watts each simultaneously.

    Implications of wireless device charging 

    Implications of wireless device charging may include:

    • The near-term elimination of accessory devices like cables, as well as the elimination of device incompatibility issues when charging devices. 
    • Pushing the consumer market to expect wireless charging functionality in all smart devices and home electronics by default.
    • Laying the long-term foundations for homes and workplaces that are free of traditional electricity cabling, enabling a future where individuals can charge their smart devices continuously in any environment, similar to the pervasiveness of WiFi today. 

    Questions to comment on

    • Do you think wireless device charging would expose users to harmful electromagnetic radiation?
    • Do you think battery technology will develop to the degree where batteries won’t be negatively affected by wireless phone charging compared to charging a battery using a cable?

    Insight references

    The following popular and institutional links were referenced for this insight: