Belkin will launch wireless wireless charging technology this year

Belkin will launch wireless wireless charging technology this year

Belkin will launch wireless wireless charging technology this year

room with wi-charge transmitter on the wall
Enlarge / The Wi-Charge transmitter is supposed to send power directly to the supporting device and nowhere else.

Wi-Charge

Despite all the “wireless charging” technology out there, there are still plenty of power cords creeping into homes. Even wireless charging stations require a cord. That’s what makes the imminent arrival of over-the-air wireless charging exciting, which sends power without cables or pads. So far, the technology has been limited to commercial uses in the United States, but Belkin is expected to launch a true wireless charging product for consumers this year.

Belkin, headquartered in California, offers a variety of consumer technologies, including wireless charging stands that support Apple MagSafe and speakers. On Wednesday, it announced a partnership with Wi-Charge to create consumer products that support over-the-air charging. The Israel-based company says its technology uses infrared beams to send up to 1W of power to devices within a range of up to 40 feet.

The announcement did not specify which Belkin product would incorporate Wi-Charge technology, but Ori Mor, chief commercial officer and co-founder of Wi-Charge, told TechCrunch that it would be “a consumer product central” released this year. Mor pointed to Belkin’s businesses in charging accessories and smart home and powerline products as areas that would benefit from over-the-air charging.

Mor also told TechCrunch that we could expect Wi-Charge to launch a second consumer product in 2022. If that happens, the Belkin product and unannounced second device should join the likes of a smartwatch, smartphone, and smartphone. an indoor security camera, air monitor and smart tracker from French brand Archos that supports live power.

“The future of charging has been shifting from wired to wireless for years now, and we expect live wireless charging to accelerate that evolution,” Belkin CTO Brian Van Harlingen said in a statement.

While Wi-Charge hasn’t detailed specific products, it’s easy to think of how the technology could make charging consumer tech easier, from electronic toothbrushes to smart speakers. Smartphones are another big area that can benefit from over-the-air charging, and Ossia, the company that has partnered with Archos, has already demonstrated how this can be done. In 2020, he showed me a Spigen-branded smartphone case using its live charge to power a smartphone.

Wi-Charge has also shown interest in bringing its technology to homes through video game console controllers and smart locks, blinds and faucets.

Conversion of electricity to IR

Belkin-backed Wi-Charge technology uses a transmitter plugged into an AC or DC outlet to send up to 1W of power to devices equipped with a Wi-Charge receiver. The transmitter is tiny, measuring 3.7 x 3.7 x 1.6 inches, according to the Wi-Charge website. The site also states that the transmitter has an 80 degree coverage angle area. Demo images on the Wi-Charge website show the transmitter mounted on the ceiling, like a smoke detector.

According to Wi-Charge, the transmitter “converts electricity into safe infrared beams.” Then the receiver “charges an internal rechargeable battery or supercapacitor”, which the device with the receiver and power supply uses. The receiver can also send device data, such as the amount of battery remaining and usage statistics, to the transmitter.

For those worried about infrared beams spreading throughout their home, Wi-Charge technology only kicks in when it detects a device with a carrier receiver. Wi-Charge’s transmitter must have line of sight with the device it’s powering to work, unlike Ossia’s technology. The transmitter will not transmit anything if a receiver is not in range.

Navigate regulations

Federal regulatory requirements are a critical barrier to offering true wireless charging for smartphones and other consumer products. Ossia, for example, details his journey for approval from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for years and finally got his first approval in March.

Because Wi-Charge works via infrared technology rather than radio waves, like Ossia’s product, it required US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

The Wi-Charge receiver announced today measures 0.8 x 2 x 0.3 inches.

The Wi-Charge receiver announced today measures 0.8 x 2 x 0.3 inches.

“In the United States, for historical reasons, the competent entity for the approval of infrared devices is the FDA and not the FCC,” Wi-Charge’s Mor told Digital Trends in 2017 when Wi-Charge received the l FDA approval. “Technically the FCC must also approve Wi-Charge, but since we use infrared, it’s not a challenge for us to get FCC approval, because technically Wi-Charge is not under the domain of the FCC.”

Wi-Charge’s announcement on Wednesday said it was certified for CE, UL and FDA standards. I asked the company about its status with the FCC and will update this article if I hear a response.

Belkin is an established name in tech, so seeing it team up with Wi-Charge is good news for cable clutter. Cleanliness freaks will have to be patient though. After all, Ossia announced its partnership with Spigen to make over-the-air charging smartphone cases in 2019, and we’re still waiting for an update.

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