Author: WiGL

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The Internet of Things Approaches Wireless, Touchless Power

The Internet of Things is a growing phenomenon. Everyday objects from appliances to pet collars are increasingly becoming “smart,” powered by software, sensors, and various technologies to communicate with users and other devices via the internet. The business forecast for this so-called physical web is impressive: one study estimates more than a 10% growth rate in the next five years, attaining a market value of $1.39 billion by 2026. However, IoT has a significant hurdle to overcome: power.

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Why the Future of Mobile Technology is Wireless Power

In an era where reliable internet is practically ubiquitous in every facet of our daily lives, we seem to forget that in the 1990s if you needed the internet, you had to utilise highly specialised hardware to plug your device into ports capable of accessing a dial-up connection, the now-infamous click and buzz of which is fated to be forgotten.

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Wireless Charging: With WiGL, Battery Power is in the Air

Finding just the right place to charge a smartphone is often a challenge, even in one’s own house, and plugging in usually means the device’s user isn’t straying more than a few feet from the wall outlet if they want to use that device while it’s charging.

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Adhoc Mobile Power Connectivity Using a Wireless Power Transmission Grid

Wireless charging of devices has significant outcomes for mobile devices, IoT devices and wearables. Existing technologies consider using Point to Point type wireless transfer from a transmitter Tx (node that is sending Power) to a receiver Rx (node that receives power), which limits the area of coverage for devices.

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Wireless Charging vs. Wired Charging: Which One is Better?

In the last few years, wireless charging has become more and more popular. It’s quickly entering the public consciousness as the way of the future much like WIFI and Bluetooth before it. However, many business owners and consumers still have their doubts about whether a world powered entirely by wireless charging is where we’re heading or if it’s just a passing fad.


Here we lay out why we believe wireless charging will eventually take over from wired charging.


Wireless Charging: The Advantages


You’ll never have to fiddle with cords or cables again

We can all relate to the nuisance of having to fiddle around with charging cables whenever we must plug our devices in. They get tangled up, they’re too short, and they often break with surprising speed. Whenever you head out, you must remember to carry both a cable and a USB converter port, not to mention the difficulty of then finding an outlet to plug them into. All small things, but they add up to a lot of wasted time that could be better used elsewhere.


With wireless charging, all of that becomes a thing of the past. Just drop your device down on the charging pad and get on with the rest of your day. The advantages become even greater with far-field wireless charging. Once it becomes more common in homes and businesses, you’ll be able to charge your device seamlessly from anywhere while still using it.


Your device won’t suffer as much wear and tear

Constantly plugging our devices in and out is well known to cause a lot of wear and tear. A lot of times, the charging port is the first thing to fail in a device, requiring either a trip to the repair shop (assuming that’s possible) or a full replacement.


With wireless charging, that’s no longer an issue. Since your device can now charge without the need for being plugged into anything you can expect its lifespan to increase dramatically. As an added bonus, the lack of any charging port also makes designing entirely waterproof and dustproof devices even easier.


You can charge multiple devices at once

Anyone who owns several different devices (laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc.) knows the difficulties of keeping them all charged at once. Each device usually requires its own separate cable and converter port that must all be carried with you when on the move. It’s even more of a nuisance when you’re at work or a public place where there’s a waiting line of people who also want to charge their devices.


Wireless charging immediately removes many of these difficulties. In the case of a charging pad, that’s all you’ll need to carry when you’re out and about. So long as all your devices comply with the Qi wireless charging standard, a single charging pad can be your one-size-fits-all solution. For far-field wireless charging, you won’t even need the pad or an outlet to plug it into. Everyone within range of the network can connect and charge their devices all at once.


It’s far safer for you, your device, and your data

It’s quite rare, but with wired charging, there’s always a small chance that you can get a little electrical shock when plugging or unplugging your device. This is usually due to either a malfunctioning outlet or a damaged charging cable. Wireless charging eliminates this possibility entirely.


Conventionally charging your device in a public place also comes with a few dangers. There’s always a chance someone could steal it when you’re not looking. Then there’s the risk of using a public USB charger, which may be secretly downloading your data. You need never fear any of this again once you switch to wireless charging.


Wireless charging is just so much neater

It’s a minor advantage, but one that shouldn’t be overlooked. Charging cables, especially when there are more than a dozen of them plugged into an outlet extender, can look very unsightly and messy. Plus, there’s often the risk of tripping over them. Most of us like to keep our workstations and homes as clean and orderly as possible, which usually equals a constant battle with cable management.


As you can expect, wireless charging makes this not an issue. Your home and workplace will look far more aesthetically pleasing and you’ll never have to devote time to cable management again.


Wired Charging: The Advantages


It’s faster and more efficient than wireless charging (for now)

It’s a fair criticism that wireless charging technology is not as fast as conventional wired charging. Depending on the brand, wireless charging can take up to twice as long to charge a device from 0% to 100% as a wired connection would. It’s an issue that wireless charging developers are working on overcoming. While progress has been made, it may still be a few years until wireless charging speeds are at a comparable level to wired charging.


There’s no risk of it overheating your device and damaging the battery

There’s an ongoing debate about whether wireless charging can cause your device to overheat to the point that it damages the battery. Electrical wastage is an issue with wireless charging and some of that wastage can be converted to heat. This can reduce the lifespan of your device’s battery if the overheating is severe enough.


However, it’s worth pointing out that the extent of this issue may be related to geographic location. The higher temperature the climate, the less of an issue this tends to be. As with charging speeds, it’s an issue that wireless charging developers are working on.


It’s less expensive and more common to use

Wireless charging pads do cost a bit more than conventional cables. That said, the higher cost of a charging pad may be offset by not having to replace it as regularly as a charging cable. Also, while wireless charging is slowly becoming more common, it’s not nearly as ubiquitous as it needs to be. Until more businesses switch over to providing charging pads or far-field wireless charging for their staff and customers, we won’t see as many people making use of it.


Final Thoughts

As with a lot of things, there are pros and cons to both approaches. Wireless charging is still a relatively new technology (in practice if not in theory), and further work is needed to overcome some of the hurdles with it. But if the speed of the development in this technology over the last decade is anything to go by, we can be confident it will overcome and eventually surpass those challenges. Given another 5-10 years, it may become the standard by which we charge not only our personal devices but every single IoT device out there.

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6 Myths About Wireless Charging

Despite becoming increasingly common in consumer devices over the last decade, wireless charging still has a lot of naysayers. As with every technological advance, doubts persist about its effectiveness and safety. So much so that many consumers remain skeptical and averse to making the switch to it. In this article, we aim to separate the fact from the fiction and give you the true lowdown on wireless charging technology. Below are the six most common myths about wireless charging.


Myth 1. Wireless Charging is Slow

It is true that when wireless charging first became a practical reality it was relatively slow and couldn’t match the speeds of a standard USB charging cable. However, significant progress in wireless charging technology has seen their output rise steadily over the last few years. Most computer USB ports supply 5V of electricity with a maximum current of 0.5A. This leads to an overall power output of no more than 2.5 Watts.

When WiGL unveiled its first working prototype of wireless charging in 2018, it had a power supply of 1.4V and an output of 0.5 Watts. Currently, work is being done on a 2022 prototype that will have a power supply of 5V and an output of 1-3 Watts. Given more time, leveraging 5G tech, we can expect wireless charging to surpass its wired counterparts in charging speed.


Myth 2. Wireless Charging Isn’t Completely Wireless

There is a bit of understandable confusion as to what people mean when they say wireless charging. Numerous companies have begun manufacturing and providing what they call “wireless charging stations”. However, detractors have been keen to point out that these devices are not truly wireless. In a way, they’re perfectly correct. Charging stands or mats that require you to place your device down still use wires. The charging stand or matt must still be plugged into an outlet. The wireless part is more to do with your device, which doesn’t need to be plugged into anything when placed down, making the whole thing much more convenient.

WiGL has taken a step beyond this and is seeking to create true wireless charging technology regardless of motion. Working much the same as WIFI or 5G, you can charge your device through a meshed network of transmitters across a dedicated area. No need to place your device down or stop using it while it’s charging.


Myth 3. Wireless Charging is Dangerous

Any new advance in technology raises questions about its safety. In practice, wireless charging is no less safe than traditional wired charging. Strict standards on design and thermal regulation mean that there is no risk of any damage to yourself or your charging device. Both WiGL’s partners and its charging transmitters have met FCC and UL certification standards for WIFI. This makes it just as safe as using regular WIFI.


Myth 4. Wireless Charging is Bad for Your Phone Battery

Persistent rumors continue cropping up that wireless charging isn’t good for your phone battery and may be causing irreparable damage to it. The truth of the matter is that wireless charging might actually be far better for your phone’s battery health than standard charging. For a start, it means no more wear-and-tear on your device from constantly plugging it in and out. Then there’s the fact that smartphone batteries today are much better off when “topped up” as needed, instead of being plugged in at 0% until they reach 100%. There’s also no fear of damage from overcharging.


Myth 5. Most Devices Aren’t Compatible for Wireless Charging

Since wireless charging first arrived on the scene there has been a move by developers to find a standard for it. This is the Qi standard and it’s found in most devices today. However, older devices, even when Qi-enabled, can’t be wirelessly charged because they don’t have a built-in receiver. Fortunately, this can be easily rectified by attaching a third-party receiver to the back of your device. As wireless charging becomes more prevalent, built-in receivers will become as standard a feature as WIFI or Bluetooth. In fact, it’s already found in 80% of smartphones sold on the market today.


Myth 6.  Wireless Charging will Only Get Displaced by a New Technology

With the speed of technological advancement over the last few decades, this is an understandable concern. Almost every new gizmo gets denounced as a passing fad that will either fail to be widely adopted or get replaced for a newer more efficient technology. But we contend that this is a fear you need not have for wireless charging. Apple was one of the first proponents of its use and development. Since they began implementing Qi compatibility on all their devices, the odds of wireless charging being nothing more than a fad have dropped to almost zero. Whatever its detractors have to say, wireless charging is clearly here to stay and will only get more popular with each passing year.


Final Thoughts

As should be plain from above, the many myths tied to wireless charging have little truth to them. As more developers and consumers get on board with this technology, the use of traditional charging cables may disappear entirely. Gone will be the days of messy piles of cables in office corners and gone will be the need to ever plug your device into a charging cable again.