For years people have been excited about the prospect of wireless power. Several technologies and products were developed and tested ranging from near field, which required placing the device on a pod to far field wireless tech, which required an antenna connected to the mains to provide power around it.

However, most attempts fell short either due to the technology not being able to provide reliable power transfer or the need for close proximity to another device. Due to lack of mobility, customers and manufacturers from consumer and large-scale tech alike did not adopt the required receivers needed to implement the system.

Why wireless power technology hasn’t taken off yet

However, new innovations in wireless power may be about to change all of that. A new approach leveraging cellular network topology aims to provide access to wireless power regardless of distance and motion to access data in Wi-Fi. These technologies use microwave radio frequency releasing energy through a multi-transmitter system, creating a radiative area in which a transmitter is able to send power to a series of receivers. Couple that with beam steering capabilities and you can allow for wireless charging regardless of motion.

Demonstrating the ad hoc mesh networking system

Recent tests show this technology has promise. Recently demonstrated wireless power transmitter grid or wireless grid local area network concept, uses an ad-hoc mesh to cover an area for wireless charging. The technology uses individual transmitter panels and provides a prototype demonstration that many transmitters can be used to cover an area for seamless charging of a commercial smartphone. Specifically, it means that the charging from three transmitter panels can provide a coverage area of 8 feet by 10 feet area. Furthermore, beam-steering capability provides a cumulative charging from more than one transmitter and maintains continuity of charging with movement.

The technology that stands behind true wireless power transmission

The aforementioned system can be realized using individual transmission source points, which can provide the required power transmission capability using the radiative near-zone and far-zone fields. The system uses a planar antenna array which is easily hidden into walls, or items of furnishing. It consists of a continuous wave source (Tx) to generate RF power at 2.4 GHz, which is amplified to approximately 1 W power (in compliance with FCC regulations) and fed into an antenna array with 22 dBi gain. The RF power is wirelessly transmitted to a remote receiver, which is located within several feet of the source and consists of an array of rectenna elements along with power management circuits to allow for DC power combining.

Next steps in wireless power transmission development

The next steps will be the most interesting and challenging. The fundamentals of wireless power transmission have been proven and demonstrated several times. However, true impact will be achieved when customers are able to charge their everyday devices without it taking ages. The implementation of 5G transmission speed into already demonstrated technologies allow for greater coverage at faster speeds, which will enable true wireless charging capabilities not only in consumer tech, offices, and businesses but also in larger fields such as the military, medicine, and construction.