Xin chao all! In February, AsiaLIFE did a Q&A piece with me and I’ve now been invited back to write a monthly tech column. I am so excited about getting to geek out with AsiaLIFE on a regular basis!
With tech being ever-present in our lives, everyone can always use a good dose of tech-iness. With this column, I’ll be covering a wide range of tech topics. Everything from news in technology, EdTech, tech tips, tech events, tech in Vietnam, tech life hacks – basically if there’s something interesting happening in tech, we’ll talk about it. Topics will be relevant to the continuous changes and advances in today’s tech-driven world.
There will be something for everyone, from the tech-enthusiasts to the not-so-techy, giving people a better understanding of technology and how we can make our tech work for us, as opposed to us working frustratedly on our tech.
As the owner of a tech shop, I am constantly asked questions about current ongoings in the tech world. Recently, more and more inquiries have been coming in regarding wireless charging, so I thought I’d start this column with a breakdown of wireless charging technology.
The Basics Of Wireless Charging
Also known as inductive charging, wireless charging was initially demonstrated in the 19th century, when electricity-guru Nikola Tesla established that electricity can be transmitted through the air by creating a magnetic field between two electrical circuits. The concept was further developed and placed into practical application by Michael Faraday (credited in ‘Faraday’s Law’) in the 1830’s.
Basically, in most of today’s wireless chargers, a copper coil is used to create an oscillating magnetic field, known as the transmitter. When an electrical charge is added to the transmitter, a magnetic flux passes the current through the air, transmitting it to a readily accepting receiver antenna, in which an electric current is induced in another coil to power or charge a battery. This is known as resonant inductive charging or magnetic resonance.
The strength of the magnetic field generated by the coil determines how far and how much energy travels wirelessly. The bigger the coil, the further the distance and more power is transferred. In most wireless chargers in the market, the coils are only a few centimeters in diameter which limits the proximity of power transfer.
What Devices Support Wireless Charging?
Wireless charging continues to become more and more prominent. Most notably, we see wireless charging in toothbrushes, smart watches, phones, tablets and even some laptops.
Certain furniture companies, such as Ikea, have begun to embed wireless charging transmitters in their furniture, Starbucks are looking to have built-in wireless chargers into their countertops, London Heathrow and Philadelphia international airports have wireless charging stations and over 80 car models (Audi, Toyota, Chevrolet, Kia, Hyundai, BMW) offer Qi-based charging in their cabins.
Will Wireless Charging Eventually Take Over?
Although Samsung did it two years earlier than Apple, Apple adoption of wireless charging in their new flagship phones in 2017 has driven the popularity of wireless chargers and the market has grown astoundingly.
The debate on whether or not to charge wirelessly has since been discussed in length. This is what we found:
1) Enhanced durability. It reduces wear and tear on your device as it eliminates the need to continuously plug a cable in and out. This means less strain on your ports, dock connectors and cables. Wireless charging also lessens the risk of electrical shorts caused by frequent plugging and unplugging.
2) Convenience. This is arguably the biggest advantage to wireless charging. Plop it on a pad and voila, off you go.
3) Aesthetics. Let’s face it – pesky cables are an eyesore.
4) Multiple devices charged simultaneously. The bigger the pad, the more devices you can charge at the same time!
1) Slower charging.
2) Excess heat. Heat is a lithium-ion battery’s kryptonite. Exposing the battery to higher temperatures speeds up the degradation of a battery.
3) Price point. Wireless chargers typically cost more than cables.
4) Immobility. In order for a device to charge wirelessly, it has to stay on the wireless charger, which makes it a bit harder to use the device properly as movement is restricted.
So what’s the verdict? Is wireless charging changing the game? This looks to be the case. In comparing wireless charging and cable charging, we find advantages and disadvantage in both. However, it’s only a matter of time until advances in technology continue to create better batteries and wireless chargers to deal with the current nuances of inductive charging. In our world, convenience and practicality in the application of technology tends to determine its success.
In this case, this will eventually be the reason of the uptake of wireless charging technology.