With the “Mi Air Charge”, Xiaomi today presented a wireless charging technology that works without having to hang up the devices. Similar to data, the charge is transmitted by radio.
Wireless charging using a charger that only stands in the room but does not require the devices to be hung up would be a technological breakthrough. Because it could make the charging process completely seamless.
Devices would be supplied with fresh energy, while users could continue to use them. Loading would no longer be a process that users would have to actively take care of in any way.
Such solutions have been researched and developed for years. At first, the US company Energous had already received FTC approval for its Wattup charging technology. That was back in 2017. Devices that use the technology will not yet exist in 2021 either.
Therefore, a certain skepticism is appropriate when Xiaomi introduces wireless and contactless charging via “Mi Air Charge” today. As opposed to the company The Verge confirmed that there will be no commercial products that can use the technology this year. There is also no schedule for the availability of the “Mi Air Charge”.
The system sounds exciting. In a blog post Xiaomi describes the cornerstones of the technology: Accordingly, the core technology of remote charging consists in the spatial location of devices to be charged with subsequent energy transfer. For this purpose, Xiaomi’s self-developed charging station has built in five phase interference antennas, which should be able to determine the exact location of the smartphone to be charged. Once the device is located, a phase control array consisting of 144 antennas transmits millimeter-wide waves directly to the smartphone.
The smartphone or another device to be charged – Xiaomi imagines fitness bands or smartwatches – must also be equipped with a set of antennas. This set consists of an antenna array that is able to send position information to the charger and another array that can receive the sent charging pulses. This converts the bundled waves into electrical energy via a rectifier and in this way charges the battery.
According to Xiaomi, devices can be charged with a charging power of up to five kilowatts in this way. The “Mi Air Charge” should be able to serve several customers at the same time. Visible obstacles such as cupboards or seating should not impair the charging process.
Xiaomi has not revealed when the system will go on sale. Compared to Energous’ Wattup system, Xiaomi has a massive advantage: It has devices into which it could build the charging technology, while Energous would have to convince manufacturers to use their system.
The “Motorola One Hyper” system, which the manufacturer also teased on the Chinese Twitter alternative Weibo today, seems to be at an experimental stage of development. The report XDA-Developers.
The Hyper should also be able to charge devices contactlessly via radio. The manufacturer has not communicated any details on the technical design. After all, the charger should bridge a distance of up to one meter in the air and charge two devices at the same time.
Unlike the Xiaomi system, obstacles between the charging station and the device cause the charging process to stop. In any case, this is the case as far as the obstacles are body parts. This should also suggest potential health risks.