Jun 27, 2012

Will inductive charging be the way we power devices anytime soon?

I've been hearing about the concept of inductive charging, which is a method of charging that basically uses a transmitter and a receiver to wirelessly charge devices, for a long time. I forgot to plug in my iPhone last night, so I'm wishing that it was available right now. Is this ever going to happen, or is it like personal jetpacks to replace the family car - sounds cool, but isn't going to happen unless your name is Bond and M hooks you up?



There are inductive charging devices on the market, but they require that you place the item to be charged on top of or next to the charging transmitter.  Energizer makes an inductive charger of this type that costs around $100, IIRC.  You can check it out here:  http://www.energizer.com/inductive/default.aspx 


The type of inductive charging where your laptops charges while you are sitting at Starbucks or the library or wherever hasn't been developed, at least not in a commercially viable way, as far as I know.  Apple has a patent for inductive charging, so I would expect to see something from them in the near future.  I'm not sure if it will require the charger and devices to be touching or not, though.  


It sounds like a very cool idea. I'd love to not have to charge my iPad or iPhone. Wow. Talk about convenient! Just set it down and it charges itself. That would be very nice.

Here's a good article with lots of background about inductive charging:

Inductive charging

"Inductive charging uses an electromagnetic field to transfer energy between two objects. This is usually done with a charging station. Energy is sent through inductive coupling to an electrical device, which then can use that energy to charge batteries.

Because there is a small gap between the two smart coils employed in each of the sender and receiver of the energy within the respective devices, inductive charging is considered a short-distance "wireless" energy transfer, despite the fact that there are typically more wires used with inductive charging than direct-contact charging, because it frees the user from having to deal with wires between the two devices.

Induction chargers typically use an induction coil to create an alternating electromagnetic field from within a charging base station, and a second induction coil in the portable device takes power from the electromagnetic field and converts it back into electrical current to charge the battery. The two induction coils in proximity combine to form an electrical transformer.[1][2]
Greater distances can be achieved when the inductive charging system uses resonant inductive coupling."
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