Xiaomi introduced Mi Air Charge technology this Friday morning. According to the company “remote charging technology” can charge multiple devices simultaneously and will recharge a smartphone that’s being used, “while walking around or even when something’s in the way”.
We’re excited to bring you the remote charging technology – Mi Air Charge Technology! Charge multiple devices simultaneously while you’re gaming, walking around or even when something’s in the way, no strings attached. Another giant leap forward in wireless charging technology! pic.twitter.com/wEoB10wOQ2
— Xiaomi (@Xiaomi) January 29, 2021
The company outlines how the technology works in a blog post. The transmitter looks quite large, as large as perhaps a living room side-table next to a couch. The transmitter can provide a 5W charge wirelessly to a smartphone.
Xiaomi’s self-developed isolated charging pile has five phase interference antennas built in, which can accurately detect the location of the smartphone. A phase control array composed of 144 antennas transmits millimeter-wide waves directly to the phone through beamforming.
This kind of charging has nothing to do with the Qi standard. The smartphones need to be outfitted with a “miniaturized antenna array with built-in ‘beacon antenna’ and ‘receiving antenna array’.” The smartphone has 14 antennas to convert a millimeter wave signal that’s emitted by the charging pile. The signal is converted into electric energy through a rectifier circuit.
In its current state, Xiaomi’s remote charging technology can charge multiple devices with a 5W current within a radius of “several meters”. Xiaomi claims that physical objects don’t reduce the charging efficiency, but this must have some caveats.
Xiaomi teases that its Mi Air Charge tech would be eventually compatible with smartwatches, fitness bands, and other wearables.
Soon our living room devices, including speakers, desk lamps, and other small smart home products, will all be built upon a wireless power supply design, completely free of wires, making our living rooms truly wireless.
We’ve seen technology like this teased by Oppo as recent as April 2020. A demonstration video featured a charging orb that beamed a charging signal to the Oppo Reno Ace Infinity, which was outfitted with receiving antennas throughout the frame. This was called FreeVOOC Air charging but it never materialized past the showcasing stage.
No release date is offered for the Mi Air Charge system and it’s not known if such technology would ever make it to the consumer market. One thing we know for sure – it’s going to be expensive whenever it does arrive. It’s interesting to see innovations like this and we’re excited for the future of wireless charging technology.