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Radio News: Wireless transmitting charger not quite ready yet

May 02, 2022 11:34 pm

In popular culture, the wireless, untethered charger for a phone is like a hovercraft, something long promised, but never delivered. Last week, though, Wi-Charge founder and chief business officer Ori Mor gave an interview to TechCrunch where he claimed that Belkin would release a specific, “center-stage consumer product” to charge phones remotely later this year. But the next day, however, Belkin spokesperson Jen Wei said nothing is imminent. "Currently, our agreement with Wi-Charge only commits us to R&D on some product concepts, so it’s too early to comment on the timing of viable consumer products," Wei told Ars Technica. "The Belkin method is to thoroughly investigate technology viability and perform deep user testing before committing to a product concept. Here at Belkin, we only launch products when we confirm technical feasibility backed by deep consumer insights." What we do know about that research and development is that Wi-Charge's technology has a small, mounted transmitter plugged into an AC or DC outlet to "convert electricity into safe infrared beams," the company's website says. The transmitter sends up to one watt of power to devices holding a Wi-Charge receiver within a 40-foot range and line of sight. The radio wave receivers then turn that light into power to charge phones and computer notebooks. Infrared waves are electromagnetic waves that have frequency range around 300 GHz, and can only travel a short distance. A Belkin official makes clear this cable- and pad-free wireless charging technology is coming soon, just not right away. "We are excited to uncover the full potential of Wi-Charge’s unparalleled over-the-air wireless charging technology,” said Brian Van Harlingen, the CTO at Belkin. “The future of charging has been transitioning from wired to wireless for years now and we anticipate over the air wireless charging to accelerate this evolution."