A consortium of eight companies has launched an initiative to develop a wireless power standard aimed at driving development and convenience in electronics charging.
The drive was announced at the first Wireless Power Consortium conference at the Hong Kong Science Park yesterday by the consortium's eight members: ConvenientPower, Fulton Innovation, Logitech, National Semiconductor, Philips, Sanyo, Shenzhen Sang Fei Consumer Communications and Texas Instruments.
The group said that some wire-free and wireless power transfer technologies exist today, but that current charging technology prevents different brands of power sources from charging the same portable device, or different portable devices from being charged by a common power source.
"This is a crucial moment in the development of wireless power," said Menno Treffers, senior director of standardisation at Philips, and chairman of the Wireless Power Consortium.
"This consortium enables every company interested in developing wireless power to contribute to the convergence of the technology into a single standard that consumers can rely on for compatibility between products of different vendors."
Most consumer electronic devices require a different charger, and the resulting tangle of wires and bulky devices is "ugly, frustrating and inconvenient to use", the group said.
"Wireless power charging takes away the need for wires and connectors. You simply drop your mobile phone, game device, electric shaver on the charging station and the battery is recharged," explained Satoru Nishimura, senior manager at Sanyo.
Other issues were also raised such as the potential for corrosion and breakage when using traditional connectors, and the environmental impact of such a wide variety of chargers.
"The universal wireless power charging standard has the potential to eliminate the last wire to billions of battery operated devices, thereby increasing consumer convenience and saving our planet's resources," added Jon Kiachian, director of the portable mobile devices segment at National Semiconductor.
The standard relates only to close proximity wireless power transmission and is based on the principle of magnetic induction, which the group believes to be the most efficient, safest and reliable method of transfer.
The consortium will first establish a standard for low-power electronic devices using five watts and below, such as mobile phones, music and video players, and computer/game accessories, before turning its attention to higher power portable electronics and electrical equipment.
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