Jason Lomberg, North American Editor, PSD
By the time you read this, Lightfair should be in the books, and to that end, I’d like to highlight one of the coolest opto items I’ve seen in a while – wireless power with infrared light.
Like any healthy marketplace, the wireless charging options are voluminous – be they inductive wireless charging, resonant inductive coupling, or RF-based. Inductive charging is the most efficient, but it requires intimate contact. Over-the-air charging is the most convenient, but you sacrifice efficiency for expedience.
Israeli start-up Wi-Charge is taking a different route.
Their solution converts energy into infrared light, which then beams down to a receiver, converting it to usable power with a miniature photovoltaic cell. Essentially, Wi-Charge trades RF for infrared light, retaining all the perks of wireless power with none of the pesky inefficiency.
Well…most of them.
The Wi-Charge solution uses light from lasers to deliver energy, so the prospective device must be visible (it wouldn’t work for the phone in your pocket). In return, Wi-Charge’s novel approach achieves unmatched efficiency.
The company claims their transmitter automatically finds devices that need power and delivers a focused beam of infrared light. And while visual blockages interfere with transmission, 100% of the transmitted power reaches the receiver. According to Wi-Charge, the usable energy isn’t dependent on distance. So any devices within the coverage area – about 250 square feet – receive the same amount of power.
It’s not dissimilar to how energy is delivered in nature. “Wireless energy warms our atmosphere and water. Plants depend on wireless energy to grow,” notes Wi-Charge in a blog appropriately titled “Nature’s Wireless Power Delivery.”
“Animals and plants have all evolved to exist with light. In fact, they all depend on it. It would thus seem only natural that Wi-Charge chose light, and specifically infrared light, as the best method to deliver wireless power.”
Check out our PSDcast on this topic here: https://www.powersystemsdesign.com/articles/psdcast-wireless-power-with-infrared-light/67/14553