Thursday, May 12, 2011

Wireless Battery Charging

Today's article is from ITmedia News.

Potentially, one of the most important technology breakthroughs that may happen in the future is the advent of a more powerful (power dense) battery that can be charged and discharged repeatedly over many years (or decades). Science is taking many different baby steps towards making a super battery by searching for many different viable materials, but it will take a long time until we can make a truly efficient battery that is not only low in cost but safe for the environment.

On way to keep batteries safe for the environment is to keep them out of landfills. The use of rechargeable batteries can of course cut down on the number of batteries going into a landfill (well slow the process any way), but in this fast paced world who has the time to put batteries into a charger and plug that charger into the wall? Well, I am sure 99% of the people in this world do actually have that kind of time, but for those of you that don't there is the Charge Pad from Panasonic which is picture below.

Charge Pad and battery packs
The Charge Pad is a smart little device that charges up batteries using a system called "Qi," which was thought up by a company called Wireless Power Consortium. Qi is a wireless charging system that can be used on any company's chargers. To uses the Charge Pad all you have to do is place your specially designed battery pack on top of the Charge Pad and it will start to charge automatically.

Quick stats:
   Size: 146mm * 170mm * 20mm (5.75in * 6.7in * .8in)
   MSRP: Around 5000 yen

As I said above, a specially designed battery is needed to use this charging system (or most specially charging systems for that matter). Panasonic will start to sell the Lithium Ion 5400 and 2700 battery packs at the same time as the charger (scheduled for June 26th). Those battery packs will have a USB cable and can be used to charge smart phones and other such devices. The battery packs themselves take 7 hours and 5 hours to charge respectively.

It is worth noting at this point that rechargeable batteries can not be charged just by placing them onto the Charge Pad. A special case is needed for the batteries. In other words, instead of putting batteries into a charger and plugging the charger into the wall, they are placed into a charger and put onto the Charge Pad. Not really much of a difference there.

There have been other devices like this around in the past, but one thing that makes this device stand out from the rest is it's "Moving Coil" technology. The Charge Pad will actually be able to detect where the battery pack is placed and be able to movie its recharging coil to that place. Almost like magic. The process can be seen below.

Moving Coil Technology
It is now time for the word of the day. Today's word is 電池(でんち). It is pronounced denchi and it means battery. Writing this post reminds me that I have to buy some new batteries for my wii remote.

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