There are a lot of exciting things happening of late at PowerbyProxi and in the broader wireless power industry – all in all it has kept me very busy and is partly the reason my last blog post was 3 months ago! (my travel manager tells me I have flown over 160,000 kms to meet with our many customers and partners).
Two weeks ago, to cope with exponential growth, our Auckland office (where all our clever R&D is done) moved across Victoria Park into our big new home at 43 College Hill, Freemans Bay Bay in Auckland. The dreaded move went seamlessly thanks to our wonderful Executive Assistant.
A few days prior to that move, we also welcomed Qualcomm to the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) at their Qingdao, China meeting. At that meeting Tony Francesca (our VP of Business Development, Consumer Technologies) was also appointed to Chair the WPC’s Resonance Task Force (part of the Low Power Working Group).
The most exciting thing however is that last week we announced our strategic partnership with Samsung – after a courtship that lasted a couple of years. When we founded the company in 2007, we knew that Consumer Electronics was going to be a key market for us, but it was still too early for the technology back then. This partnership is further evidence that wireless power is fast becoming mainstream in Consumer Electronics.
For me personally, this marks the commercial realization of work that started many years ago when I was a student at The University of Auckland. We are now well positioned to leverage our wireless power technology (find out more info on wireless power) in both the consumer and industrial market segments with Samsung and TE Connectivity as strategic partners respectively.
It is certainly a very exciting time for us at PowerbyProxi. The partnership with Samsung in particular is significant for us given they have also been one of the earliest proponents of wireless power. Many Galaxy and Note smartphones have had wireless charging ports as standard for some time now, as an example.
In announcing the deal, Vice President, Hugh Kim, Director of Wireless Charging Development said “Our research identified PowerbyProxi as a leader in wireless power technology based on its expertise, track record and comprehensive patent portfolio.”
The partnership will enable us to leverage our wireless power technology and IP to deliver the best user experience to a mass audience. We are certainly excited to be working with Samsung.
With so much of what we do under wraps, it’s nice to be able to share some of the exciting things going on at PowerbyProxi. We have more major announcements coming out soon so keep your eyes peeled!
Well put Jacek Debowski! (Technical Insights Research Analyst for Frost & Sullivan).
Finally someone gets what it will take for wireless power to go mainstream in consumer applications. In an extract from the latest Frost & Sullivan report Debowski notes: “Companies have already started offering wireless charging systems with consumer electronics. However, it can become a standard feature in smartphones or laptops only when it offers higher efficiency and power, electromagnetic interference compliance and flexibility in the positioning of the charged device.” See the original article here.
We have been saying this since we were founded in 2007. Lets discuss Jacek’s points one by one.
At PowerbyProxi we have focused on providing:
In my opinion there are a few things missing from Jacek Debowski’s comment quoted above, but I was impressed to see electromagnetic interference compliance on his list. So few comment on this important topic which puzzles me, especially when so few flexible positioning technology platforms can actually meet it!
What did I think was missing? The other key things that are critical for widespread adoption of wireless power in consumer electronics are:
Some say we are the only ‘real’ wireless power company as a result 😉
Shanghai – PowerbyProxi capped off a very successful couple of days at Wireless Power World 2012 last week, drawing plenty of interest around our suite of wireless technologies for consumer electronic devices. The conference was held over two days (12th and 13th of September) and included leading experts and companies in the wireless power field discussing the latest in innovations and trends as well as the current industry standards debate.
PowerbyProxi were able to showcase a number of solutions including our Proxi-3D Recharging Station, Proxi-2D Charging Pad and our wirelessly rechargeable AA batteries. Observers were extremely impressed by the capabilities of both of our transmitter platforms as well as our ability to miniaturize wireless receivers to integrate into AA batteries and existing smartphones.
We had both VP Consumer Technologies, Tony Francesca and CEO, Fady Mishriki representing us at the conference, with Fady delivering a presentation on the second day entitled ‘The power to unplug, beyond theory – wireless power requirements and real world applications’.
Some images form the conference:
More information will be available on how the conference went once Fady gets back from his travels.
Over the last few years Wireless Power has made rapid advances towards becoming a mainstream technology and is often the case, marketing departments become the source of many new inventions. Perhaps the biggest marketing “invention” to date is something called “Magnetic Resonance” (related to Resonant Inductive Coupling) when everyone else is just doing stone age “Inductive Power.”
It’s a term many have now adopted, as if it was some space-age technological leap from “Inductive Power.” When in fact Magnetic Resonance and Inductive Power are EXACTLY the same thing.
Lets dig into this a little more …
I’m sure all EEE majors will remember that Inductive Power uses Magnetic Resonance.
Any Inductive Power system has to have resonance, even the WPC which requires complete alignment between the transmitter and receiver coils uses resonance. Yes, tightly coupled systems, like loosely coupled systems, do use resonance! This is accepted science since The University of Auckland started researching modern day wireless power 20 years ago.
Originally, before induction, wireless power could be achieved by effectively taking a transformer and separating the primary and secondary coils (i.e. a split transformer).
To increase the power efficiency it was worked out a long time ago that we need to use resonant coupling. This is just a fancy way of saying that by adding capacitors on both coils, a resonant circuit is created between the inductance of coil and capacitor. At the resonance frequency, the reactance cancels out and you are left with only the parasitic effects of finite winding resistance, AC resistance (proximity effect) and dielectric losses.
If you had a perfect AC source and drive the resonant circuit you have no losses. Losses are solely limited by your parasitics.
“Magnetic Resonance” is just sticking some capacitors in place. It was great to see Marin Soljacic, the inventor of WiTricity confirm this in the IEEE publication, A Critical Look at Wireless Power. “Resonance enables efficient energy transfer…. …. it’s not a new idea: Tesla’s eponymous coils use that very same principle.”
To summarize in non-technical speak, all Inductive Power systems use magnetic resonance and its certainly not the difference between tightly coupled and loosely coupled systems.
Like most new technologies you need to get underneath the marketing spin to understand the features and benefits that each vendor can deliver to those who matter most – our customers!
In my post last week I started to examine issues around frequency selection for wireless power systems. This week I want to take the discussion a bit further and talk about the benefits (as we perceive) of using lower frequencies (in the kHz range) vs. higher frequencies (MHz) as an industry standard.
As the standards debate rages on, different parties continue to put forward their various interpretations on the ideal frequency range. Various standards utilize higher frequency ranges than others. PowerbyProxi, through the CEA working group, continues to argue that standards that use lower frequency ranges (kHz) are more appropriate based on what we believe is in the best interest for you – the consumer.
There are several factors that need to be taken into account.
Complexity. How complex is the device to manufacture. Controllers used for wireless power systems are far more complex at the MHz range ultimately impacting the cost of manufacture and thus the price that the end-consumer (you) pays.
Interference. As we as we are aware there are no wireless devices operating in the MHz range that meet EMC radiated emission compliance. What it means is that at the moment, there is no proof that they wont cause interference on other devices.
Other factors such as charging distance, transmission efficiency, thermal properties and form factor tend to be implementation specific or require further research to be able to draw clear comparisons.
On the balance of the research done so far, lower frequencies at the kHz allow for more user friendly and functional wireless power systems to be developed. Isn’t that ultimately what it should be all about?
When we talk about wireless power, one of the first design questions we consider is… “at what resonant frequency should the system transfer its power?”. Selecting the system’s resonant frequency helps increase the distance for power transfer and improves the efficiency of the wireless power solution. But what are the health implications? and are wireless charging products being accurately measured?
Resonant frequency refers to the frequency at which an object naturally vibrates or oscillates. It is at this frequency that objects are able to achieve their maximum amplitude – whereas it is difficult to get them to vibrate at other frequencies. In the case of inductive power transfer (IPT), the principle of resonance is applied to induce an electrical current between coils of the same frequency over greater distances.
Naturally the resonant frequency will depend on the problem or application, however there are other factors which influence this decision. As with all electronic products, the foremost issue is safety.
Usually safety is determined by how much radio frequency (RF) exposure can be applied without being harmful to human health. Guidleines do exist which provide reference to what are acceptable and safe limits of exposure…or so we think.
Most would consider the 1998 and the 2009 ICNIRP (International Council on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) guidelines as a reference to those limits. Yet the guidelines lack any specific mention or reference to the behaviour of wireless power systems. What this means is that the “limits” identfied may not accurately apply to RF radiation created by wireless charging.
That is not to say that wirelss power systems operating under these guidleines are unsafe – electromagnetic fields created by this technology are considered to be at the lower end of the exposure spectrum. But surely more specific and conclusive measurements of IPT applications are required to understand the appropriate exposure limits?
Otherwise how do we know if limits are too harsh? (impacting the quality of solutions), or conversely, not harsh enough?