The recent development of the Qi (pronounced CHEE) wireless charging standards provide much needed interoperability across devices, enabling a surge in the number of products now taking advantage of wireless charging. Emerging IoT applications such as drones, robots, medical monitoring and wearable devices, smartphones, and headphones require the ability to charge without a wired connection. Below are 3 key benefits enabling the broad adoption of Qi as a standard.
- Durability—No wires means no exposed metallic connections. Most portable and roamable products are typically exposed to the elements. For example, wearables may come in contact with perspiration. Robots and drones may be exposed to precipitation or dirt. And many IoT devices are specifically designed to contain, measure or test fluids. When devices untether, it becomes impossible to predict the type of elements the device will encounter. Designing connectors that reliably contact the device while charging usually is non-trivial. This complexity can be completely avoided by fully encapsulating the device. A wireless charge can easily flow through many materials like polymers, plastics, epoxy and wood. Fully enclosing devices enhances durability and simplifies the design by eliminating external metallic connections.
- Miniaturization—Make the device smaller with tiny wireless charging coils. Often, large power connectors are the limiting factor when designing for small size. Some devices like hearing aids, ear buds and tiny wearables have no room for USB or custom charging ports. With wireless charging, there is no practical limit to how compact a design can be. Low profile and small footprint charging coils easily enable a smaller design.
- Safety—Charging does not activate unless the receiver is in close contact. When a wireless charging-enabled receiver is rested within range of the transmitter base, a communications link establishes before the transmitter base emits full power. If the communication fails, the transmitter assumes the receiver is not operational or there is no receiver available. Rather than emit power into empty space, the transmitter withholds power emissions. This mechanism ensures that only a fully operational receiver within range can activates the transmitter and guarantees safer operation.
Wireless charging brings other key benefits. For example, high efficiency up to 85%, high-power delivery for fast charging and the ability to establish a secondary communications link are additional benefits. As wireless charging gains popularity, more devices will make use of these key benefits.
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