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Wireless Power Consortium Pushes for "Qi" Standard 189

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the someone-call-apple dept.
The Wireless Power Consortium (comprised of Samsung, Sanyo, Olympus, Philips, Texas Instruments, and others) has started a push towards a wireless charging standard under the moniker "Qi" (pronounced "chee"). "Members of the Wireless Power Consortium are reviewing version 0.95 of its technical specification which defines a proposed standard for charging devices, using up to 5Watts power, delivered by electromagnetic induction. The spec could evolve into a standard — and will be demonstrated by multiple vendors on September 15th to 16th. ... It is less ambitious than the system demonstrated this summer by Witricity, which operates at a distance of a few meters, using resonance, which the company claims has green benefits through replacing disposable batteries."
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Wireless Power Consortium Pushes for "Qi" Standard

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  • When I'll be bale to forget about any power cable and contact-less docking power charger, please!
    We need the real wireless charger!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by capnchicken (664317)

      Probably as soon as all the patents held by trolls in Texas run their litigious course. See you in thirty years!

    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      I can't see why we wouldn't need both - an induction system for recharging batteries, and a resonance system for wireless power. We need the latter because it make wireless power a reality, we need the former because there won't be universal coverage of the latter.

  • by Peter Steil (1619597) on Monday August 17, 2009 @05:24PM (#29097841)
    This is definitely a step in the right direction. I know it's really frustrating looking for a non-standard plug for my phone. I'm sure the days of searching for the right power adapter are limited.
  • Yucky. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Monday August 17, 2009 @05:29PM (#29097893)

    Kind of like the corruption of the Elves into Orcs in LOTR, the idea of charging the air with yet more EM pollution and calling it "Qi" makes a sick mockery of the real thing.

    And there's a frickin' pyramid with an eye ball on the dollar bill.

    We're being laughed at even as we are mutilated and enslaved.

    Cue the conceited, ill-informed rationalizations.

    -FL

    • makes a sick mockery of the real thing.

      Ok, so tell me...

      What is the real thing? How can it be measured and tested? Couldn't it be used for evil, as well as good?

      Cue the conceited, ill-informed rationalizations.

      Oh, I'm not saying that this particular "Qi" is a good thing. I'm saying that there's no proof that "real" Qi exists, nor that it would be beneficial.

      I'm also not aware of any evidence that this "EM pollution" is harmful, but at least we sort of know what it is, and can measure its effect, so I trust it a hell of a lot more than I'd trust "real" Qi, if you managed to produce any.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Fantastic Lad (198284)

        What is the real thing? How can it be measured and tested? Couldn't it be used for evil, as well as good?

        I just call it 'energy' but nobody I know seems entirely clear on what exactly it is. My guess is that it is simply another variation of the unstable wave forms from which atomic matter is constructed, but that doesn't really help much since the same could be said of anything. It's hard to test for in the kind of way which would establish things once and for all because our technology and scientific un

    • by Twinbee (767046)

      I'm not actually sure if this is meant to be a joke or not.

  • by gmuslera (3436)
    Maybe they could make stations (running Android) that do big blasts of that Qi charges for big devices, electric cars, etc. I propose to put them under the moniker "Kame Hame Ha".
  • But how efficient would this be vs a wall wart?

    -l

    • I guess that one device, at 50% efficiency would probably be a ton better than 3-4 devices at >75% efficiency, but you are right..

      They need to have a low power (damn near off mode) and then when something is placed nearby, then ramp up the power.. going back to low power mode again as soon as its removed.
    • by Darinbob (1142669)
      This was my first concern. If a device is not being charged, isn't there still some power being used?

      I've wondered this about transformer wall-warts too, which is also an inductive coupling (without as much gap between the coils though). Despite all the coiling of the wire, there's still a closed circuit when you plug it into the wall and the primary coil will have some non-zero resistance, and I doubt a wall wart is anywhere close to 100% efficiency.

      So what's better for efficiency and power less when the
      • Well, you could design the charging system as a plate where you place your equipment, and have a simple weight-activated contact underneath the plate. That way you'd save on some of that standby-power they are all so worried about. And maybe this new system would actually end up having a lower TCO than normal wall-warts during normal use.

  • Wasted technology? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jayme0227 (1558821)

    Maybe I just don't understand their plan, but this seems like it would be close to a useless technology. It seems like it would be more expensive to develop and implement than a standard power cable, and you would have to set your device onto the power mat. Does it really take that much effort to grab the cable and plug it in? Also, in the case of cell phones, you wouldn't be able to use the cell phone while it's charging like most cell phones allow you to do currently. Win = Power cord.

    Now, the other techn

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vertinox (846076)

      Maybe I just don't understand their plan, but this seems like it would be close to a useless technology. It seems like it would be more expensive to develop and implement than a standard power cable, and you would have to set your device onto the power mat.

      The average user does not like cables.

      You are just not the average user.

      • by dgatwood (11270)

        And in ten years, when someone points out that you can save $100 per year on electricity by using an all new cabled cell phone charger, suddenly the average user will love cables all over again. The average user doesn't know what he/she wants or needs and never will. Therefore, you should design products to cater to power users in terms of capabilities and complete idiots in terms of ease of use, and ignore the protestations of the proles. Anything else will inevitably lead to products designed by commit

        • by Darinbob (1142669)
          And the average user won't know what they want because they don't have the information. You can't browse phone chargers at the store and compare the on-box listings of "dollars per month". So the user is going to compare based on convenience and price.
          • by dgatwood (11270)

            My point was that somebody will get the bright idea to start advertising wired chargers a few years later as the "green, money-saving alternative to wireless chargers", at which point customers would have at least some of the information....

            Wireless power for most consumer devices is without a doubt the most idiotic concept I've heard suggested in the consumer space lately. The EM spectrum is already an awful mess. We shouldn't be raising the noise floor and wrecking our environment by increasing the cons

            • by fractoid (1076465)
              If you're worried about the environment, consider that the wall wart is generally almost the same size as the phone itself these days, so by using wireless charging, you're halving the amount of material that needs to be manufactured. That, and we're talking 5 Watts. Even if it's only 50% efficient, that's only 5 Watts of wasted electricity. There are plenty of devices in your home that waste a lot more than that.
              • by dgatwood (11270)

                True, but at $0.37/kWh, a mere 5 extra watts translates to $16 extra per year per device (most of it probably from coal with my luck). That adds up pretty quickly.

                • by fractoid (1076465)
                  Hmm, this is true. Although (now I'm just playing devil's advocate for the hell of it :P ) if you live in a cold climate such that some heating is needed for most of the year, that extra energy (which will dissipate as heat) won't be wasted, it'll just be a little auxiliary warmth. :)
                • by battjt (9342)

                  Sure, but here in Indiana we only pay $0.09/kWh or $4/year/device or just over a penny a day, a penny a day for the convenience of being able to toss the phone on a pad instead of plugging it in. Given my failure rate at actually getting the phone plugged into that darn cable, I'd gladly pay a penny a day for a more reliable convenient method.

                  [ source http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/table5_6_b.html [doe.gov] ]

                  Joe

      • by wfolta (603698)

        Maybe I just don't understand their plan, but this seems like it would be close to a useless technology. It seems like it would be more expensive to develop and implement than a standard power cable, and you would have to set your device onto the power mat.

        The average user does not like cables.

        You are just not the average user.

        The average user does not like cables.

        You are just not the average user.

        Not to mention that, the parent mentions a "standard power cable". Please tell me what power cable is standard for portable devices. For desktops, yes, I have a drawer full of them, but for portables, you get everything from custom sync connectors that charge to USB, mini-USB and more.

        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          The OP says that it would be more costly to develop than a standard power cable, as in: Why aren't they developing a standard power cable rather than trying to standardize useless technology like this.
    • by feepness (543479) on Monday August 17, 2009 @06:19PM (#29098381) Homepage
      I can charge ten things with one plate. Epic win.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by NickFortune (613926)

        I can charge ten things with one plate

        Well, assuming that the standard is complete with no areas left as implementation decisions, and that they all use the same resonance frequency, and all the participants conform fully to the proposal, and that no-one decides to add some sort of proprietary encrypted handshaking protocol on the charging cycle (purely in the interests of security, of course).

        Otherwise, you could well end up with ten plates to charge ten devices, which would be a bit of a step back.

        T

      • That's only an epic win if you have ten things. Plus, wouldn't all ten things be drawing from the same rather small power supply? That sounds like it's going to be pretty slow. Maybe I don't understand how it works, could be. :)
    • by megrims (839585)

      Power cord insertions and removals cause significant strain on the components involved. I've had several devices where the solder has eventually broken, making the device much harder to use.

      • by dgatwood (11270)

        Only poorly designed connectors have this problem. Take a look at Apple's MagSafe connector or the connector that Sony Ericsson uses for examples of how to build connectors that should never wear out in this way, abuse notwithstanding.

        • I'm fairly certain that the connector on my iphone will crap out way before the phone itself does, I wish there was a magsafe power port either as a usable subset of the connector or a seperate charging port.

          As often as an iPhone needs to be charged, I don't see the edged connector lasting very long.

  • This is a good thing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PhunkySchtuff (208108) <[kai] [at] [automatica.com.au]> on Monday August 17, 2009 @05:56PM (#29098169) Homepage

    This is potentially a good thing. How many different charging devices do you have at the moment? I've got one for AAA and AA batteries, one for my phone, one for my iPod, one for my wife's phone, one for my DSLR, one for my camcorder, one for my...

    I don't need long-range wireless power, like some developments are working on -- whilst this would be quite cool, it's very inefficient at this stage. Wireless charging of all these devices would however be a great benefit to reduce clutter and waste. If all the devices are compatible with the one spec of charger, then should I lose my phone charger, it doesn't matter as it's compatible with the charger I've got. I've had to replace one of the phone chargers not that long ago too as SonyEricsson have quite a delicate clip on the plug -- if this clip breaks, then the plug won't stay attached and the device doesn't charge.

    I already enjoy the benefits of wireless charging with my electric toothbrush - it sits in a base that charges it back up. There are no electrical contacts or plugs to get wet and gunky with toothpaste residue, it's just a smooth plastic ring that the toothbrush sits in and away it goes.

    To have a pad that I could place any of my devices on to recharge would be incredibly convenient. I truly hope that enough manufactures adopt this standard to make it a possibility. Unfortunately with standards, the great thing about them is that there are so many to chose from.

    • by BESTouff (531293)

      This is potentially a good thing. How many different charging devices do you have at the moment? I've got one for AAA and AA batteries, one for my phone, one for my iPod, one for my wife's phone, one for my DSLR, one for my camcorder, one for my...

      Too shy to write "sex toy" ?

  • So... (Score:5, Funny)

    by FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) on Monday August 17, 2009 @06:31PM (#29098509) Homepage
    Will Nintendo adopt it? Because I want a Qi Wii. And assemble it in Finland so the factory's website will be QiWii.fi
  • While 5 watts isn't much, I just can't see that many people being willing to become a Qigong master just so they can run an AP from their own natural energy. It takes decades of study to reach that level.

    Most people these days are far too busy multitasking to even think about the focused mental effort required.

  • Just because it has a name that is not intuitively pronounceable. Idiots.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Fex303 (557896)

      Just because it has a name that is not intuitively pronounceable. Idiots.

      Yeah, just like Nintendo's latest console, which flopped because its name was both not intuitively pronounceable. Does anyone even remember the Wii?

      • by Lershac (240419)

        Uh, Wii IS intuitively pronounceable... Are you phonetically impaired?

        • by jo_ham (604554)

          Yeah, it sounds just like radii and genii, am I right?

          • by Lershac (240419)

            I dunno whats the matter with you, but I got it right, and everyone I know got it right immediately...

            • by jo_ham (604554)

              So did I - and I'm not the original poster btw. Initially having never heard it pronounced out loud before I was thinking that it could be "Why" or "Wee" - both are common pronunciations of double i - the fact that it's ambiguous is the issue here, not that it's difficult to pronounce.

              The fist time I heard a Nintendo ad on the TV, one of the two possible legitimate pronunciations for the word was confirmed. Without knowing which way Nintendo was going with it (since they picked the name) it wouldn't be poss

        • by Fex303 (557896)

          The vowel sound in 'Wii' is usually written as 'ee' and sometimes 'ea' or just 'e', examples would include 'we', 'wee', 'weed', 'read' and so on.

          As jo_ham posted, 'ii' in English is usually associated with an 'eye' pronounciation, which would have made the Wii, sound like it was called the 'why'.

          I found Nintendo's attempt to force the 'ee' sound out of 'ii' baffling when I first heard it, but after a couple of minutes it made sense - when Romanising Japanese, double vowels mean a long pronounciation. So fo

  • The best direction to go for a standard recharging interface is probably just to use USB, which is (ahem) universally available and already widely used for this task.

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