Unnecessary cords and wires are taking over our lives! We’ve all had to deal with the frustration of tangled cords, another broken charger, or forgetting your phone charger at home. With the average U.S. family owning around 24 electronic devices per household the issue of cords and never having enough outlets to plug everything into are growing.
This growing burden of excessive wires, is exactly why wireless charging is becoming more popular. As electronic devices per individual are growing in number and getting smaller in size, the demand for a more convenient charging solution is becoming increasingly popular. As a result, we’re beginning to see wireless charging take the spotlight as a much awaited charging solution. Most consumers are aware that wireless charging exists, but they do not know the difference between the different types of wireless charging solutions out there. Some charging solutions work better with phones and tablets, while others are more suitable for wearables and drones. The different types of wireless charging solutions all charge devices, but they way in which they do so varies by technology. Let’s find out what the best wireless charging solution is!
In basic terms, wireless charging is the transmission of energy from a power source to a device without wires or cables. How does it do this? All wireless charging solutions are comprised of two parts, a transmitter and a receiver, allowing your device to charge without being plugged in!
The transmitter is the actual charging station itself. The receiver is inside the device that you are charging. The transmitter sends energy to the receiver; then the receiver takes that transmitted energy and uses it to charge the battery of your device. Image if you had a bowl that could charge your devices. The bowl would be the transmitter. Now let’s say you put your phone in the bowl to charge. The receiver would be inside your phone, receiving power from the bowl and in turn charging your phone! No wires, no problem.
Magnetic induction wireless charging, or resonance wireless charging, uses an electromagnetic field to transfer energy from the charging station to the device. The charging station is usually a pad, mat, or other flat surface. Because of its structure, induction wireless charging solutions tend to work better for larger devices, such as smartphones or even electric toothbrushes. The magnetic field is generated by the transmitter coil and then converted into an electrical current by the receiver to charge your electronics. Inductive charging tends to work well for large, flat electronic devices because they can fit the induction coils required to create a charge inside of the device.
A radio frequency (RF) wireless charging solution utilizes radio frequencies to charge a device. How does it work? Radio frequencies are transmitted through a wireless charger and picked up by a receiver. This receiver is inside the device and is not a coil like with induction. The frequencies are converted into DC voltage which charges the device. RF wireless charging is a newer solution to the wireless charging question. The transmitter and receiver are not restricted by size, allowing RF wireless charging to accommodate devices that induction cannot (like devices that are small or ones that aren’t flat surfaced.) Because RF wireless charging has a receiver based mostly on electronic circuitry, and not a coil, it does not have the same physical limitations in size and shape. This allows the receiver to be integrated into the smallest of electronic devices, such as small wearables, hearing aids, and more.
So what’s the best wireless charging solution for mobile phones? On this one we’d have to go with an inductive wireless solution, which is probably the most common wireless charging solution for cell phones. Because induction works best for larger and flat surfaced devices, you can just place your phone down onto a charging pad without having to plug it in. So if you need the best wireless charging solution for a cellphone, induction is what you need!
Just get a new wearable and wondering what the best wireless charging solution is for charging your device? This time we’d have to rule in favor of RF wireless charging. Inductive charging is restricted to the size and shape of the coils, which is why it works best with large or flat devices. RF wireless charging on the other hand works well with smaller items. Remember the bowl example above? That’s an example of a RF wireless charging solution. Instead of trying to plug in such small devices, like hearing aids, you can just place all your wearables into a drawer, bowl, or backpack and let them charge!
Inductive wireless charging wins again when it comes to the best wireless charging solution for electric vehicles. Even though the majority of electric vehicles on the market today still need to be plugged in to recharge, this could all change with wireless! Since we usually park our cars in one place, like a garage or parking spot, electric cars could use inductive wireless charging, which requires precise placement. Turn your driveway into one giant wireless charging station and never plug in your car again!
Besides RF and Inductive wireless charging, there are other types of wireless charging solutions being tested, but they do yet meet the industry standards. One of these solutions is infrared wireless charging, which uses an infrared transmitter, ideally integrated into a light fixture, to beam light energy into a receiver. The receiver would convert the energy from the light beam into electric energy. Another example of a different wireless charging solution is ultrasound wireless charging. This solution relies on ultrasonic transduction to take power from the nearest source of electricity and convert it into ultrasonic waves. The waves are then beamed into the device and picked up the receiver.
Well, really it depends. Each of the above wireless charging solutions has its pros and cons, as well as works better for certain devices compares to others. Induction works well for large and flat items. This type of wireless charging solution is also very available and found readily on the market. But induction is limited in size and shape, can sometimes have slow performance (taking a long time to charge your phone), and have precision placement (meaning it requires the exact alignment of the coils).
RF wireless charging in theory is the future because you can transform any object in your house into a charging station. Just drop and charge your wearables and devices into your favorite bowl or the drawer in the living room, and let the charging begin. You can also charge more than one device at once (just throw them all in the bowl!). The downside is there is a lack of standardization for RF wireless charging solutions on the market.
Wireless charging hasn’t exactly become standard, but it is constantly improving, especially now that cords & chargers are becoming more of a burden. At Humavox, we have created a new and exciting RF wireless charging solution that lets users simply drop their wearable into a charging station, blending wireless power into all your different life environments. Soon we will charge without even noticing!