When Small is Beautiful

Jul. 2019

Wireless power systems have two main parts: a power transmitter and a power receiver. For both parts, small is beautiful.

Let’s start with the transmitter. Assume you are ready to place a long-range wireless power transmitter in your home. You determined that it provides enough power to the devices you need at the distance you need them. You made sure it was certified safe for consumer use.

The “elephant in the room” is its size. Would you accept a wireless power transmitter the size of the fridge? A TV? A couch? probably not. You’d be looking for something so small that it will blend nicely with everything else going on. Maybe something the size of a smart speaker. Something that you can put on a bookshelf and not feel like you have to make lots of room for it.

The receiver is an even bigger problem. Receivers are part of the device being charged. If you’re charging a phone than the absolute maximum size you’d be willing to accept is the size of the phone. Most often, you’ll want less. As small as possible. Perhaps as small as a sugar cube, or a small USB thumb drive. With a small receiver, especially one that allows you to reduce battery size, you can achieve small and beautiful devices.

This is where the choice of the underlying wireless power technology makes a dramatic difference. Some technologies – such as light-based transmission – require only a very small receiver, enough to catch a thin beam of light. Other solutions (putting safety, power and distance limitations aside for a minute) rely on much larger antennas or receivers that negatively impact both the aesthetic appeal as well as the functionality of the devices they aim to charge.

With wireless power, small is indeed beautiful.

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