The Wireless Power World Shanghai 2012 was held last month on Sept 12 -13 where many of the leading companies presented and attended.
It was evident at the show that all companies and industry groups are now driving to a common set of objectives addressing the fundamental needs of consumers. These consist of spatial freedom, simultaneously charging multiple devices, and addressing a wide power range for devices from smartphones to tablets and PCs. Spatial freedom is the new term for “loosely coupled” and more intuitive than the prior technical term.
Although the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) was first in creating an interoperable specification to start the market, the adoption has been slow. Some of the basic limitations for consumers have been the “tightly coupled” or non-spatial freedom requiring consumers to precisely align their device on a charging pad, charging only one device at a time, and power to charge only a smartphone. While on my travels throughout Asia last month, I discovered that a number of tier 1 OEMs decided not to supply WPC based products not only due of those limitations but also because of unacceptable performance for low efficiency and generating too much heat.
There are now 3 industry groups driving these common objectives: WPC, A4WP, and the Consumer Electronics Association Working Group 4 (CEA WG4). The CEA WG4, where PowerbyProxi is one of the leading contributors, was formed over one year ago and took the lead in defining an interoperable specification for what the rest of the industry is now recognizing as the fundamental needs.
PowerbyProxi demonstrated working products and technologies at the Wireless Power World Shanghai 2012 which deliver the ultimate in spatial freedom and the ability to charge multiple devices simultaneously with its Proxi-3D and Proxi-2D charging platforms as well as the most miniaturized receivers that can fit into AA batteries.
Let me now your thoughts.
There are hundreds of millions of Consumer Electronics devices that run on AA batteries and hundreds of millions more ship every year. Examples of devices are: digital cameras, portable game players, portable music players, Xbox 360 game controllers, Xbox 360 headsets, Nintendo Wii game controllers, TV remote, DVR remotes, children’s toys, …
Many consumers buy disposable AA batteries to keep their device running. When batteries lose their charge, consumers throw them away and replace them with new ones. The process is: remove the old ones, throw them away, and make sure the new ones are correctly inserted or the device will not work. Where do the old ones go? In a toxic landfill, of course. Imagine how many tons of toxic batteries are disposed of every year!
What are the alternatives?
You can certainly purchase rechargeable AA batteries. When batteries run low, you remove them and place them in a battery charger. The benefits are that you don’t have to keep purchasing new batteries and you are a good corporate citizen on not adding to the toxic waste problem. However, you still have to remove the batteries from the device, place them in a charger, and make sure you correctly insert them back into your device.
PowerbyProxi has taken this to the next level of user convenience with wirelessly rechargeable AA batteries which utilizes our unique miniaturized receiver technology. Any device that runs on AA batteries instantly becomes a wirelessly rechargeable device by replacing the disposable batteries with the new wirelessly rechargeable AA batteries. When batteries run low, you simply place the device into the charger, no need to remove the batteries. It is practical and as simple as that. This new way of charging is referred to as “In-Device Charging” thanks to PowerbyProxi’s innovation and leadership in wireless power.
Imagine this convenience: no need to keep buying more disposable batteries; no need for the cumbersome step of removing batteries from the device; and no need to correctly replace the batteries in the device. In addition, you are a good corporate citizen by reducing the growth in toxic landfills.
Refer to the link for a video example. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aqf3b7hqsxw
Let me now your thoughts.
Coupling is a term widely used in discussing wireless power systems – it refers to a coupling coefficient ‘k’ which defines how well a transmitter and receiver are magnetically “linked” as a percentage. Generally something like transformers have extremely high coupling coefficients approaching 100%.
Technically, tightly coupled systems are interpreted as having high or transformer like coupling coefficients while loose coupling is interpreted as systems with low coupling coefficients. There is some debate around the cut-off for high and low – 50% is one proposed transition point.
From a usability perspective I would define tightly coupled as a system which requires some form of mechanical alignment to fix orientation and transmission distance. This can be done via a magnet or a mechanical alignment feature on the transmitter and receiver. A loosely coupled system would allow complete flexibility of orientation / misalignment in a 2D target zone. A 2D target zone would be a planar area such as a matt (i.e. Proxi-2D), which can wirelessly charge devices imbedded with a receiver that is a few cm above it.
Systems like the Proxi-3D which enables receivers to work in a three dimensional target zone with an omni-directional receiver are what a user may call as beyond loosely coupled!
In my opinion the usability definition is more relevant for anyone buying the system as really the technical definition is really just a means to an end – the end being ensuring customers don’t have to carefully align their devices with a wireless charger.