It wasn’t so long ago that wireless internet changed the way we think about our computers and phones. They’re no longer devices anchored to a desk or workstation. Now they’re tools we can take with us anywhere.
At least, until they need to be plugged into the wall and charged.
Wi-Charge is looking to change that. It’s a small start-up with some big plans for the future – plans that could help snip the one remaining wire that’s holding us back.
The company has found a way to charge devices not with electricity, but with infrared light. The premise is simple: a transmitter would be fitted into light fixtures or smoke alarms, which would then beam infrared light to your phone, tablet or laptop. Your device would include a special receptor, which would then transform the infrared light into electricity.
Picture walking into a coffee shop and putting your phone on the table. While you sit and recharge your batteries, your mobile device does the same. It’s thanks to a transmitter installed in the celling, which would cover an area of about 500 square feet – easily enough for a restaurant or shop. Initially, you could need an accessory such as a case to store the receiver, but Wi-Charge’s vision is that devices would start being produced with the technology built in.
Because the system uses light to charge devices, there’d need to be a clear line of sight between your phone and the overhead charger. But on the plus side, you could charge multiple devices at once simply by placing them in range. All without a single messy wire to get in the way.
It certainly sounds like a step up from the Qi wireless charging that has been in the news lately, which requires you to put your device on or near a special pad. However, Qi has the definite advantage of being here, now, while it looks as if Wi-Charge is still years away from getting a product to market.
But one thing is sure. A truly wireless world is getting ever closer.