Wireless charging today already exists. But it requires the device and the charging base to be just inches of each other, just like what the current Qi technology offers. But a new technology developed at MIT may someday make wireless charging operate similar to WiFi, charging devices wirelessly anywhere in a particular vicinity.
Scientists at MIT have developed technology that they call MagMIMO that offers a new system of charging devices wirelessly. The new technology makes use of a magnetic field in order to charge devices. It is somewhat similar to WiFi technology. In a typical high-end WiFi system, when a router detects a device that attempts to connect to it, the device can increase the signal and direct it towards the source of the connection. This effect is called beamforming. The difference is that WiFi tech makes use of electromagnetic waves, which can cause heat build-up when the signal focus is too strong. With a magnetic field, it may not be a problem.
Current wireless charging technology may not offer the same level of freedom as what the MagMIMO tech potentially may be able to offer. Existing wireless charging technology requires the device to be quite near the charging pad. Even the positioning of the device needs to be dead center of the pad to charge it. With the MagMIMO system, devices only need to be within the vicinity of the charging device.
Currently, the researchers have been able to create a charging area of 30cm or almost one foot. It may be as simple as putting the device on a bedside table near the charging base for it to do its work. While the current system may not yet be market-ready, the technology may someday make charging devices similar to how WiFi operates today. Someday, people may not need to take out their smartphones or tablets out of their bags or pockets for it to start charging. They will just need to be in the vicinity of the charging device to start charging their gadgets. In the future, there might be wireless charging facilities where people only need to stay or pass through in order to charge devices. If future homes or cities have one, it may even be possible to get rid of low power issues since people can practically charge their devices wirelessly anywhere. It is an exciting proof-of-concept system that the researchers at MIT are currently trying to develop with the MagMIMO.