Xiaomi drives free space wireless charging into the living room

Xiaomi drives free space wireless charging into the living room

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Xiaomi in China has launched the world’s first free space wireless system for smartphones, with Lenovo’s Motorola brand close behind.

Xiaomi has developed its own system rather than licensing from a company such as Powercast or Energous to provide 5W of charging power over a distance of several metres, and can handle multiple devices. Lenovo has also said it is developing a similar system, but with a charging distance of 80 to 100cm, and has given no further details.

Xaomi says its system uses millimetre wave frequencies, but that could be anywhere from 13GHz to 70GHz. It has an isolated charging pile has five phase interference antennas built in, which can accurately detect the location of the smartphone. A phase control array composed of 144 antennas transmits millimeter-wide waves directly to the phone through beamforming.

On the smartphone side, Xiaomi has also developed a miniaturized antenna array with built-in “beacon antenna” and “receiving antenna array”. The beacon antenna broadcasts position information with low power consumption. The receiving antenna array composed of 14 antennas converts the millimeter wave signal emitted by the charging pile into electric energy through the rectifier circuit.

Currently, Xiaomi says remote charging technology is capable of 5W remote charging for a single device within a radius of several meters. Apart from that, multiple devices can also be charged at the same time (each device supports 5W), and even physical obstacles do not reduce the charging efficiency. 

In the near future, Xiaomi’s self-developed space isolation charging technology will also be able to work with smart watches, bracelets and other wearable devices. It is also looking at adding the free space wireless charging technology to living room devices, including speakers, desk lamps and other small smart home products.

The move, if successful, is important for the Chinese market initially, as Xiaomi is currently the world’s third-largest smartphone brand and has established the world’s leading consumer AIoT (AI+IoT) platform with 289.5 million smart devices connected to its platform, excluding smartphones and laptops.

For operation in the US and Europe the company will have to take the technology through certification, which is a major challenge.

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