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The principles of transmitting electrical power without a physical connection are not new. In the 1890s, Nikola Tesla was demonstrating inductor coils that would be familiar to electronic designers today.
Nikola Tesla, around 1890.
However, the idea of "wireless" seems very modern. To many, the idea of wireless is intimately linked with smartphones and WIFI, and in fact, it may be the smartphone that will bring the idea of wireless power back to the present..
Smartphone and tablet users are constantly sending emails, texting, posting on social networks and playing online games. The average user can barely last a day on a single battery charge, because large displays, fast processors and HD graphics consume lots of power. Public wireless charging stations offer a convenient solution to this problem. For example, a user can charge a smartphone by simply placing it on a restaurant table outfitted with a wireless charger. To make the user’s experience successful, the charger must be easy to use, fast and efficient, but more importantly, its performance must be comparable to conventional wired chargers.
Our friends at Würth Elektronik believe that once this technology, driven by consumer product design and demand, is well established, many different new applications will appear in other areas. For example, handheld surgical devices in the medical field traditionally use charger contacts, such as plugs or prongs, to ensure they are fully charged before use. However, these contacts corrode easily with liquid disinfectants, and even the most careful design might leave physical featyres that are hard to sterilise perfectly.
However, with integrated wireless charging technology, medical instruments can be completely encapsulated which prevents contamination and corrosion. In another example, equipment used in industrial settings with high concentrations of dirt, dust or flammable materials would be ideal candidates for wireless power supplies, which can eliminate many of the environental risks and reliability issues associated with exposed electrical contacts.
The success of these solutions depends, of course, on devices that adhere to standard compatible protocols on both the transmitter and receiver sides. Therefore, regardless of manufacturer, once it is certain that devices can be charged at any compatible station, the technology will become popular. Hence, it is critical to understand which standard protocols are present in the market and the technology behind them.
Fortunately, Würth Elektronik has created an application guide that will give you this understanding and designing wireless power with confidence. You can download it here:
RS Components has a vast range of inductor products from Wurth Electronik. Take a look at the full range today.