Japan’s NTT DoCoMo has demonstrated a cell phone prototype that charges without wires! The prototype is based on a new wireless power standard called “Qi”. The Qi system, pronounced “chee“, transfers power by induction. (“Chee” means ‘vital energy’, an intangible flow of power, in Asian philosophy.) Electricity flows when a wire coil in a gadget, in this case a cell phone, is aligned with an energized coil in a charging pad. Charging time is about the same as a standard wired charger.
The Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) is developing the technology defining the Qi standard. The WPC began developing the technology in late 2008 and published the first version of the standard earlier this year. WPC targets the first version of the technology to be implemented on devices that require 5 watts or less to charge, such as mobile phones, Bluetooth headsets, digital cameras and TV remote controls. WPC is moving on to forming the next standard work group that will cover medium power devices from 50- to 120 watts.
Nokia, Olympus, Research In Motion, Philips, Sanyo Electric, National Semiconductor and Texas Instruments are among the members of WPC.
Commercial devices based on the Qi standard are already on the market. Energizer offers a charging pad and Qi adapter jackets for the iPhone and BlackBerry smartphones. And more are on the way from other vendors.[via]