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Wireless Power Progress: Efficiency and Distance

We met PowerByProxi recently when discussing wireless battery charging options. Well, they’ve recently announced what they claim to be a couple of milestones both in distance and charging power.

The distance metric has them able to charge in the “z” direction up to 30 mm away. That’s 3 cm; roughly an inch and a half. Which doesn’t actually seem that far, but, critically, since they can penetrate various construction materials, this means they can go through counters and tables (much as we discussed in the WiTricity case).

More significantly, they’ve upped their charging power to what they say is an industry-leading 7.5 W. Those of you who know phone power systems in detail may note that, at least as PowerByProxi tells it, the power management ICs (PMICs) throttle wireless charging power to 3.5 or 5 W to avoid overheating. (No such limit is placed on wired charging.)

Given that fact, you might wonder how PowerByProxi tested this out (short of designing their own PMIC): they did it by adding a dummy load to the phone to pull extra power. Their goal is that, by demonstrating 7.5-W charging (per receiver, or device being charged), future PMICs can eliminate the limit, allowing faster charging.

They also announced a “personal charger” in the shape of a bowl. This was a prototype demonstrating that phones or wearable gadgetry could be simply dropped into the bowl, without any careful positioning, and they would be properly charged.

They’re targeting this for the new Qi v1.2 protocol, which uses the lower-frequency 200 kHz range, even though PowerByProxi makes charging systems at other frequencies (they’re not firmly wedded to one format).

You can read more about their developments in their announcement.

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