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Intel Power Technology

IDT and Intel Join Forces For Wireless Charging 87

Posted by timothy
from the electromagnetic-forces-of-course dept.
MojoKid writes "Intel has selected Integrated Device Technology (IDT) to develop an integrated transmitter and receiver chipset for the company's Wireless Charging Technology (WCT) based on magnetic resonance technology, it was announced [Wednesday]. The technology won't require you to plop your smartphone or other gear on a special charging mat (based on inductive charging), but you will be able to wirelessly charge your devices from an equipped device like a notebook. In addition, magnetic resonance charging is significantly more efficient than previous generation inductive technologies and it produces less heat build up in the process. Intel didn't say when WCT will appear in shipping products, but promised to update plans and timelines at a later date."
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IDT and Intel Join Forces For Wireless Charging

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  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday August 30, 2012 @11:57AM (#41179827) Homepage Journal

    in a car.
    I would love for my phones to charge automatically when I ma in the car, or at home. No more wires.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I would love to passively charge my devices when I'm near your car.

      • by TheLink (130905)
        Yeah. The greater the range the greater the convenience. For you and your neighbours... I've seen TVs (50-100W?) powered by these sort of things so you might notice it in your electric bill especially if you have more than one.
    • by Kenja (541830)
      I thought you where referring to passively (wirelessly) charged electric cars, which is actually something people are working on.
  • by RobertLTux (260313) <robert@lauren c e m a rtin.org> on Thursday August 30, 2012 @12:01PM (#41179885)

    you have to figure that there should be a considerable magnetic field around these devices so how will this work with say Flash drives credit cards and other "stuff" that does not like being in a above background mag field??

    • by jamesc (37895) on Thursday August 30, 2012 @12:21PM (#41180099)

      you have to figure that there should be a considerable magnetic field around these devices so how will this work with say Flash drives credit cards and other "stuff" that does not like being in a above background mag field??

      The article stresses efficiency, so presumably it just sends out a periodic magnetic "ping" and doesn't turn on full power charging until a compatable device answers and completes a handshake. Note the 2-Way Secure Communication and Foreign Objection blocks in the block diagram.

      Flash drives aren't based on magnetic media, so they don't care about mag fields until they're strong enough to be a concern for you as well. (See Diathermy [wikipedia.org].) Shouldn't be a problem at the power levels they're talking about.

      Credit cards are magnetic, but are fairly resistant to being demagnetized. See the Mythbusters episode "Barrel of Bricks, Third Rail, Eelskin Wallet Demagnetize" on their Collection 1, disc 1, episode 3. It took a fairly strong and changing field to erase credit cards. I suppose I'd keep all my cards several inches away from the charging coil, just to be safe.

      Floppies could be demagnitized, but they're curiosities now.

      Bare disk drives maybe could be affected, since their cases are now mostly plastic. Not a problem for most people.

      I'm not seeing much of a downside otherwise. As is often the case in such matters, convenience in charging stuff will likely outweigh the hassle of an occasional erased mag-stripe card.

      • by freeze128 (544774)
        I wouldn't cite Mythbusters as being particularly scientific.

        Of course a static magnetic won't affect a credit card stripe, but it won't charge a phone either, no matter how powerful the magnet is. It's the CHANGE in a magnetic field that actually induces current flow, and that's also what erases (or WRITES) to magnetic media.

        My big fat 21" CRT monitor has all sorts of changing magnetic fields emanating from it. Maybe that will already charge my phone.
        • by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Thursday August 30, 2012 @12:47PM (#41180461) Homepage Journal
          You walk around all day in a field that is strong enough to physically move a compass needle. As you change position, you do have a changing magnetic field intersecting with that credit card.

          Mythbusters can goof, but they are promoting that the way to learn is from experiments and observation. Which is science.

          • by fa2k (881632)

            The geomagnetic field is quite weak compared to almost anything

            • Yes, but it's persistent and of course the effect is cumulative. Another little push on the magnetic domains every time you move. So, it's stronger than you think, but still not enough to demagnetize that strip of oxide in a few years.
              • Not true - magnetic media requires a minimum magnetic field strength to alter it. Think of it like the friction of a book sitting on a table. If you push very gently on it, nothing happens. It doesn't start moving just because you start pushing in random directions either. However, at some point if you push hard enough the static friction is overcome.

                The effect is called coercivity [wikipedia.org]. Old floppies required around 300 Oe, and were thus easily damaged by moderately strong magnets. Credit cards and modern

                • I was wondering if there was a hysteresis of some kind. It looks like it's frequency-dependent, too. This is how you can charge a device without degaussing magnetic media.
        • I cited Mythbusters for convenience. Plus, they actually try stuff and aren't afraid to admit that they got it wrong and retry in later episodes. That is a lot more scientific than certain groups I could name.

          When they get a "Confirmed" result, that's real data. The proposed effect happened under those conditions. When they make a number of attempts, fail, and label a myth "Busted", is when they're the least scientific. Later episodes may prove them wrong. Kind of ironic for a show named Mythbusters

      • "It took a fairly strong and changing field to erase credit cards."

        Yes, but magnetic resonance charging specifically involves strong and changing magnetic fields.

        I think I'd keep my cards, external drives, etc. a bit more than just a few inches away.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I would estimate that your credit cards and flash drives [pcworld.com] (which are immune to magnets anyway....), considering some of the highest magnetic fields in nature [wikipedia.org] still require that they be relatively close to wipe information from credit cards.

      Not to mention Mythbusters tried wiping credit cards with super powerful magnets [mythbustersresults.com] without success.

      Ahh, Google. Where would we be without a cursory check with you before posting.

  • We're joke (Score:4, Insightful)

    by postmortem (906676) on Thursday August 30, 2012 @12:05PM (#41179919) Journal

    70 yrs after death of Tesla we're not able to figure wireless power distribution.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kthreadd (1558445)

      The distribution is not the problem.
      The problem is not frying the human that stepped into the power field.

      • by TheLink (130905)
        The other problem is getting people to pay for the power they use. Imagine if you live in an apartment and your neighbour's devices end up being charged by your charge points (and thus you end up paying more). The neighbour might not even know that he's getting the power from your point instead of his.

        Perhaps it won't be enough power that it would increase your power bills by much- what's tens of watts between neighbours etc? So people might not care that much.
        • by Abreu (173023)

          ...aaaand this is the problem that killed Tesla's funding. Capitalist fears of "leechers and bums"

      • Tesla was well aware of that problem, which is why he wasn't proposing using a radiative power distribution system. This system, and the larger system Tesla wanted to build, uses magnetic resonance coupling between two antennas. That makes it vastly more efficient and much safer than a radiative system. This field has minimal effect on you, or anything else that isn't exactly the right antenna size.

        Unlike a radiative system, which will indeed heat up the fillings in your teeth...

    • Yeah, those guys on parallel Earth totally beat us to it already.

  • Neat (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Thursday August 30, 2012 @12:05PM (#41179923)

    Right now I have about 6 different types of chargers, each plugged in in various places around the house. I would love it if I could just have a 'charging table' where you just sit your gadget on it, let it simmer, and pick it up later with a full charge.

    • by slew (2918)

      FWIW, you don't need this technology for that, you could use simple inductive charging (like electric toothbrushes). This tech uses evanescent magnetic fields to charge things a bit farther away (maybe a meter depending on the frequency they use), and with higher efficiency.

      • I meant that I wanted it to be standardized and ubiquitous. Every year that goes by the need to plug my devices into anything goes down. Just a year ago I needed to plug my phone in to do a system update. Today that is a distant memory. I can't wait to see the extent that this reaches.

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Right now I have about 6 different types of chargers, each plugged in in various places around the house.

      I have tried very hard to make sure the things I buy that need charging will mostly charge off of USB of some sort.

      I've got a really nice Kensington [kensington.com] charger with 4 USB ports that covers most of what I need.

      My two cameras each have a dedicated charger, but the rest of my electronic devices can get handled with that. It really does cut down on the number of chargers you need to keep around. It also makes

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What makes you think we won't have 6 different types of wireless chargers or charging tables?

      • because if someone smart comes along they will simply make a variable frequency charging pad and you will no longer be able to make money of of your one device charger. unless the manage to create a device that uses a ever-changing frequency to charge that shares the information with the charger receiving the frequency changes over an encrypted protocol but that would be a pain in the ass to engineer and probably cost a shit-ton to produce at that size.

    • I would love it if I could just have a 'charging table' where you just sit your gadget on it, let it simmer, and pick it up later with a full charge.

      Nah, why not just have your computing follow you across every surface you own, activated by multiple factors of authentication including biometrics? No more forgetting your phone, just use the wall, coffee table, car, desk, sunglasses, or pants... I mean, If I'm going to build you a table with an induction system in it, for a a little more I can install a touchscreen and Linux PC. These things keep getting smaller and cheaper...

  • I remember reading a paper some years ago on magnetic resonance wireless power transfer- I do not maintain that I understand how the patent system works (or doesn't) but magnetic resonance is a natural phenomenon, and it would be interesting to see what is -in this picture- the wiggleroom for lawsuits that usually follow.

    Imagine someone claiming a patent for a transformer.

    • by Desler (1608317)

      Imagine someone claiming a patent for a transformer.

      No need to imagine it. [tfcbooks.com]

    • by slew (2918)

      IANAL, but I'm pretty sure you cannot patent a natural phenomenon, but you probably could potential patent the use of a natural phenomena in certain novel use cases (e.g. a very optimized circuit to transfer resonant magnetic power for a charger). I'm guessing there's lots of other companies/people working in this area and thus there are probably a few patents already (e.g., WiTricity, WREL, eCoupled, uBeam, etc), and some prior art/expired patents (e.g., Nikola Tesla)...

      On the other hand, Apple has appare

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        IANAL, but I'm pretty sure you cannot patent a natural phenomenon

        Dude, SCOTUS upheld that you can patent [ipsnews.net] genes. You know, the ones people already have.

        I wish what you said were true, but I'm not sure it is any more. :(

        • by mcl630 (1839996)

          The ruling in the article you linked was not by SCOTUS... it was a Federal Appeals court. But your point still stands.

        • by slew (2918)

          IANAL, but I'm pretty sure you cannot patent a natural phenomenon

          Dude, SCOTUS upheld that you can patent [ipsnews.net] genes. You know, the ones people already have.

          I wish what you said were true, but I'm not sure it is any more. :(

          It's a bit subtle, but I read the patent and and the various rulings and the currently only angle that has been upheld is that the segment of DNA which is extracted from a fragment of the BRCA gene is not naturally occuring so it can be patented (basically, a lengthy chemical process is needed to extract this chemical from naturally occuring mutated DNA and the result is no longer DNA, but a different chemical). However, the claims of the patent which involve identifying and using the results of the extrac

  • Efficiency (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Thelasko (1196535) on Thursday August 30, 2012 @12:18PM (#41180073) Journal
    Forgive me, but every time I hear about wireless power, I think about how inefficient that sounds. Wouldn't a (more or less) direct connection to the power source be more efficient? Aren't we trying to conserve energy, and improve energy efficiency?
    • While philosophically we are indeed seeking to conserve energy and improve energy efficiency; economically, convenience will trump green in the market place every time. It is the world we live in.
    • A physical connection is not required, nor necessarily helpful. Wires have resistance, after all. With an arbitrarily large transmission array wireless losses can get arbitrarily small - as an example, a visible laser (just a very focused and high frequency electromagnetic wave) transmits virtually all of the energy to the target.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        There is still the matter of converting the energy to and from that transmitted form, even if you get all of it there. For your laser example, those efficiencies are a lot worse than just a wire.
      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Wires have resistance, after all.

        There's only the tiniest bit of resistance in the short length a charging cable takes, while any kind of induction will have bigger losses, and the farther away the device to the charger, the more power is wasted.

    • Re:Efficiency (Score:5, Interesting)

      by slew (2918) on Thursday August 30, 2012 @01:27PM (#41181005)

      Forgive me, but every time I hear about wireless power, I think about how inefficient that sounds. Wouldn't a (more or less) direct connection to the power source be more efficient? Aren't we trying to conserve energy, and improve energy efficiency?

      It's important to understand that even a "direct" connect is just a waveguide for an electromagnetic wave. Waveguides can have all sorts of losses (resistive, radiation, etc.) that limit their efficiency. At typical power distribution frequencies resistive losses can be quite large with long narrow wires, although in general with an impedance matched zip-cord, the radiation losses tend to be pretty low. Also direct connect isn't completely direct connect either. Inside that wall-wart is a step-down transformer which is basically a small inductive power transfer (wireless power), which has its own power efficiency issues.

      Theoretically, the "free-space" transmission (well not really free-space, but air-space), has the potential to eliminate most of the resistive loss, although in practice there is this basic problem of radiation power loss. This type of tech (resonant magnetic coupling) has a few tweaks to try to help with this problem. First off, there's use of use of near-field evanscent waves which don't propogate very far (evanscent waves are the exponentally decay solution to the em wave equation) keeping most of the power local. Second, there is the use of resonance which reduces the losses and increases the efficiency of power transfer. The combination of these ideas allows pretty good power efficiency. I think you can get about 80% efficiency with near-field (vs 90% for a wall-wart connect). For the small amount of power going to recharge a mobile device, that's not really that much to worry about (if you were trying to power say a TV or a stereo, that would be another thing).

      • by BillX (307153)

        On the resonance front, AFAICT the main way the modern crop of wireless charging systems differ from Tesla's is that (now in a cheap-as-free microcontroller world) they include some form of 2-way communication/collusion between the charger and gadget, allowing it to actively home in on the resonant frequency for the specific device.

      • 10% less efficiency is 10% _less_, it's wasteful, no matter how much power is involved. Wouldn't you be delighted if your vehicle was 10% more fuel efficient? And yet, the car companies will make a big show over small single digit improvements.

        Instead of grandiose carbon sequestering schemes or other mad schemes to attempt to control the purported man-fuelled climate change, why not instead simply try to do things more efficiently? Energy consumption inevitably continue to grow simply because the planet'

      • by Thelasko (1196535)

        Also direct connect isn't completely direct connect either. Inside that wall-wart is a step-down transformer which is basically a small inductive power transfer (wireless power), which has its own power efficiency issues.

        The "more or less" I put in parenthesis was referring to this wall wart issue you mention. However, many people, including the U.S. Government, [energystar.gov] have identified these devices as a potential way to increase energy efficiency. It just seems to me that wireless power technology would negate all of this hard work.
        Thanks for your reply!

    • by fa2k (881632)

      It's a bit like wireless networks. Wired connections offer better speed an reliability, yet many people use wireless even when a cable is directly available. "Normal" people seem to have an aversion to wires

  • Do not place your balls or your pacemaker on or near charging device.

    • by Ksevio (865461)
      That would actually be a great way to power a pacemaker (with a built in battery of course). No one wants to have to replace the battery under their skin or run wires through it.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    http://www.ted.com/talks/eric_giler_demos_wireless_electricity.html [ted.com] -- And considering that Tesla was thinking of this stuff in his time, I say it's overdue. Maybe profanity will become archaic simultaneously with wires.
  • I thought they wanted to CHARGE me money for using wifi.
    • I thought they wanted to CHARGE me money for using wifi.

      And I thought almost the same, just without the "for".

  • I'm sure they're already stating they innovated magical charging first.

  • The technology won't require you to plop your smartphone or other gear on a special charging mat, but you will be able to wirelessly charge your devices from an equipped device like a notebook

    Right, so, no special mat needed - just a special laptop?

    • Right, seems to me the charging mat would be more convenient. Having a charger built into the laptop too would probably be nice when traveling though.

    • Yes, but people are still refreshing their laptops much faster than they refresh desktops, so that requirement isn't all that burdensome. If they're really clever, they'll also make a USB accessory for desktops and old laptops, just to make the system more widespread.

      Having said that, most people traveling don't want to lug around a pad and won't want to lug around an accessory either, especially since the antenna on it will have one dimension roughly the size of a cell phone. That's an acceptable substit

  • by RocketRabbit (830691) on Thursday August 30, 2012 @01:56PM (#41181465)

    I'm an amateur radio operator and guess what? If this fucks with my activities it will never fly. We killed broadband over power lines and we will kill wireless cell phone charging too, if it interferes with licensed operators.

    Besides, unless this technology has a very long range, it will be pointless anyway. If it does have long range, it will be used for rampant electricity theft. Either way, if you think about it, it's a stupid idea.

  • Wireless extension cord. Everyone wants one an Intel could make billions.

  • Intel has a problem. All the growth in electronic devices is in areas where Intel doesn't dominate. Or even have a presence. They're desperately trying to force some Intel technology into the phone/tablet range of devices.

    Wireless charging pads are a good idea, but there are at least three competing standards. The wireless charging industry needs to agree on a worldwide standard. Then get a pad into every business hotel room and every business class tray table.

    • This isn't a pad. That's the point. It radiates a field as wide as your arm is long. (It could be much wider than that--Tesla wanted to cover a city with such a field, but that's the size they seem to be aiming for.) Their clever idea is to build the device into your laptop, which you already have, and already sit close to, and the phone in your pocket will start charging any time you sit down to type. You don't even take it out of your pocket.

      And with Intel's marketing? It'll fly.

  • by Areyoukiddingme (1289470) on Thursday August 30, 2012 @05:44PM (#41184649)

    Such a system would allow phone manufacturers to completely eliminate physical connectors entirely. Bluetooth and WiFi for data, this for power. Apple especially could make a perfectly sealed candy bar phone, glued together. On the upside, phones built that way could default to being water resistant, and it wouldn't be too big of a leap to make them waterproof to some reasonable depth.

    Unfortunately that also means that Apple will think they can patent the idea of a socket-free phone...

    (And yes, I mean that literally. They won't try to patent an implementation. They'll do their damnedest to patent the entire idea.)

  • IDT Audio software has a bad habit of using 50% cpu. Let's hope they use different programmers for this project. Google stacsv64.exe for a sample of IDT quality.

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