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Something to look forward to: Wirelessly charging devices has been a popular technological goal since Wi-Fi caught on. One company claims to have taken the next major step towards that aim, and has agreed to cooperate on an upcoming product from Belkin.
Israeli start-up Wi-Charge has been raising funds for its IR-based wireless charging system since unveiling it at CES 2020. The company claims it has made a more efficient, greener, and safer method of charging various small devices without cables.
The Wi-Charge RI-100 plugs into a power socket and directly beams power to a receiver plugged into a device. That direct IR connection means the RI-100 doesn't have to bathe an entire room in radio waves, and it doesn't waste any of the transmitted electricity. One RI-100 can send power to multiple receivers within around 1,400 square feet.
The RI-100 receivers can even send information back to the transmitter, telling it each device's power needs so it can smartly distribute power. Multiple transmitters can use that information in tandem through a cloud server, and the owner of the host network can watch and control power distribution.
Each transmitter can send between 70 milliwatts and one watt of power to each device. One watt isn't a lot for keeping a smartphone charged, but it's enough for many devices that are probably on standby most of the time.
Wi-Charge's website uses examples like smart locks, electric toothbrushes, game controllers, or wireless displays. The company hopes this will reduce the need for batteries and thus reduce e-waste.
This week, Wi-Charge told TechCrunch it had signed a deal with Belkin, though without revealing what kind of product they have planned. Wi-Charge only described it as a center-stage consumer product and a "perfect application."