Some of the greatest inventions throughout history were met with skepticism — fear, even — when they first were introduced to the public.
TechRadar shared that people were afraid the speed of train travel would melt human beings. Some worried the telephone was a conduit for evil spirits. Cathode-ray tube (CRT) monitors were erroneously accused of causing miscarriages. Even Wi-Fi was looked at with trepidation, as numerous people worried unnecessarily about cancer-causing invisible radiation.
Now, wireless power is in the spotlight. As demand for power in our age of connected devices continues to grow, so does the chorus of naysayers as this next technological wonder emerges.
Here are 5 concerns that have been raised about wireless power, and the facts to counter them.
Concern #1: Wireless power will start fires.
Here’s the truth: The inductive charging systems used by popular “wireless” smartphone charging pads (like the Qi system) use transmitting and receiving coils to send electricity over a tiny distance — several centimeters, max — and the whole process warms things up.
There’s a fair amount of concern over whether the heat byproduct is bad for cell phones’ batteries, but the bigger concern is whether that heat could become a fire hazard — particularly in the wake of cell phone fires like the ones we’ve mentioned. While there’s not a ton of scientific concern over Qi-style chargers blowing up, some inferior knock-offs from Asia have shown themselves to be problematic.
WigL isn’t near-field like Qi, but rather reflects another distribution model, called Wireless Far-field, which captures free-space RF energy and converts it into AC or DC. Rather than harvesting from a stock of power assets separate from data, we can smartly create, direct, transmit and receive steerable AC or DC whenever and wherever the need for power exists. There’s no overheating byproduct here, and thus no fire danger.
Concern #2: Wireless power is bad for the human body.
Just like people’s concerns in the past about other wireless media — the telegraph, radio, television and WiFi — wireless power is in the crosshairs today as a potentially dangerous cancer-causing agent.
And once again, it’s completely unwarranted. According to Mental Floss:
“There’s really nothing to worry about. The average induction charger creates a field no more dangerous than radio waves, and it isn’t strong enough to have any effect on the human body. If anything, plugging in and unplugging a cable is more dangerous because there’s a minute chance it could fray and shock you. By contrast, induction hardware can be safely encased in thick plastic and still work. This is why electric toothbrushes have long used induction to charge: The units can remain sealed and waterproof.”
Concern #3: Wireless power isn’t faster than wired charging.
Look, there’s plenty of evidence to support this concern right now. The “Near-field” products are getting all the press — which are what most people think of when it comes to wireless power — have been shown to send 30 watts of power to devices, not 40 watts like a wall socket.
But where the Near-field solutions have failed, WigL prevails. The wireless power signals from WigL are akin to WiFi signals, providing ample, targeted, constant power to awaiting devices. Although WigL doesn’t skimp on wattage, the constant nature of the power delivery turns the common practice of recharging on its head.
Concern #4: Wireless power doesn’t work over long distances.
For Qi-standard inductive charging, the devices aren’t movable or usable while on the mat, because contact with the charger is crucial to staying within its maximum 4 cm “wireless” limits.
WigL converts AC or DC Smarter Power into a two-way signal via a WigL transmitter. WigL transmitters broadcast targeted power through the air to devices that can receive it–similarly to how our phones receive data via Wi-Fi. The receiver converts the signal into DC to harvest the power. The received power is then stored or used to power the device.
There’s no concern about the Qi standard’s requirement to be close to the mat; that would be like requiring a laptop to get its data by putting it up against the Wi-Fi router.
There is no limit to the theoretical transmission distance. Power transfer efficiency depends on many factors including frequency, antennas, the transmission medium, etc.
Concern #5: Wireless power will never catch on.
It’s already catching on. IHS Markit reports the market for wireless power components is set to grow over the next five years from 600 million units in 2018 to 2.1 billion units in 2023 — a compound annual growth rate of 28 percent.
“Wireless power technology continues to evolve rapidly, with reach expanding beyond smartphones to wider applications and product segments,” said an IHS Markit wireless power analyst.
It’s already catching on. But we have yet to see a potential game-changer that is ready and able to deliver plentiful, smart-targeted power to applications beyond just personal communication devices. WigL is ready for the revolution.
Read our whitepaper here, and learn more about how to get WigL working for you.