Pi enables wireless charging for mobile devices kept at a distance

By Karthekayan Iyer | Published on 19 Sep 2017
HIGHLIGHTS

Pi aims to fix wireless charging with a device that could debut next month. The Pi charger allows for charging devices within a foot's distance.

Pi enables wireless charging for mobile devices kept at a distance

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Pi, a new company wants to change wireless charging for smartphone users with its Pi Charger. The company debuted the product at TechCrunch Disrupt which it claims can charge multiple devices within a distance of a foot in any direction. The technology will change the way wireless chargers work by providing flexibility of charging over a traditional wireless charging pad.

Wireless charging is set to become a common industry standard among smartphone makers with even Apple adopting the standard for its latest iPhones. Wireless charging currently works with the help of a pad or a puck shaped device on which users place their device for charging. The standard allows for wireless charging but is limited by distance and direction. 

Pi says its new wireless charging adheres to Qi charging standard by using resonant induction. It adds a new beam-forming algorithm allowing for safe direction of magnetic field to wherever the device is placed. TechCrunch reports that Pi demonstrated the technology at Disrupt and it seemed to work. "They showed five devices (four phones, one tablet) charging simultaneously when brought within range of the Pi," TechCrunch notes. 

Pi also clairified that its wireless charging system will work 12 inches in any direction and charging speed will vary by distance. The device placed next to Pi charger will charge faster than the one placed 12 inches away. The company says it has raised $3.5 million to date to commercialise its product and plans to ship the device under $200 sometime next year.

The Pi charger won't be able to charge laptops since its maximum power output is limited to 20W, but the company has plans to increase its power output and support different consumer devices before launch. Ahaed of the iPhone X launch, Apple was rumoured to be working on a new wireless charging standard that enables charging devices from across the room. However, Apple ended up supporting Qi standard instead. With the demo of the Pi charger, this unknown company has kind of paved a new way forward for wireless charging.

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Karthekayan Iyer

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