For years now, mobile device users have been wirelessly surfing the web or talking on the phone without any type of physical connection. Wireless convenience has generated new applications and market sectors, including wearable devices. However, when it comes to recharging, the vast majority continue to connect devices to a wall outlet using a cable.
Now, let’s imagine a business trip in our Brave New World. While packing for the trip, there would be no frantic search for charging cables—micro USB for the phone, and proprietary chargers for the Bluetooth headset and wireless fitness tracker.
You jump into the car and head to the airport. The phone has 10% power and you have an update with your boss. No problem. As you lay the phone on the dash, the charging indicator turns green.
Getting to the airport, you grab a coffee. Placing your Bluetooth headset somewhere in the marked circle on the table, it begins to charge. During the flight, as you catch up on emails, you notice that the charge indicator on your laptop remains at 100%. The only difference is that the seat-back tray is slightly heavier than those from a few years ago.
When you arrive at the hotel, you place your Bluetooth headset, hearing aid and fitness tracker on the desk along with a few coins and the device charging lights come alive. You finish up sending your emails, close the laptop and place your smartphone on the lid. You then sleep soundly, knowing that everything will be fully charged for tomorrow's busy day.
This Brave New World is closer than you may imagine. The technology exists and millions of devices are equipped with the capability to wirelessly receive a charge. Also, millions of charging stations have shipped and thousands are installed in public places, such as restaurants, hotels and cafes.
What’s more, research continues apace on the wireless transmission of energy over longer distances using wireless resonance technology. In addition to phones and tablets, it is not hard to envision such systems recharging various items in a smart home that fall within range of the power source. And, taken to the next level, it may become possible for smart cities to offer wireless charging alongside city-wide Wi-Fi. Such charging techniques could also be used to deliver power to the growing number of electric vehicles on our roads.
In fact, given our society’s reliance on power, the possibilities of wireless charging at the local and wider levels are endless. Achieving this vision demands standards for global interoperability. That means implementations and technology from the major standards organizations (including the Wireless Power Consortium and AirFuel Alliance) need to align if our Brave New World is to become a reality.