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August 07, 2013

Laird Releases RWC5353, Meets Qi Standards

Laird announced on Monday that it had released a new wireless charging coil module, the RWC5353. It is designed to reduce electromagnetic interference and is compatible with the Qi standard.

London-based Laird PLC is a technology company with offices in Europe, the U.S. and Asia. It develops products for wireless and other technology including electromagnetic interference shielding, wireless control devices and thermal management products.

Developed by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), Qi (pronounced ‘chee’) is a global standard that could revolutionize how devices are charged in the future. Its intention is to eliminate the need to use wired chargers that plug into wall sockets.

Many smartphones support voltage in the 100-240V range, so dealing with the issue of U.S. versus non-U.S. voltage level differences is no longer a concern with these devices. However, users still need to make sure the charger supports the voltage level being used and must bring an adapter for the different shaped plugs.

The Qi standard specifies that any Qi-compatible device can be charged at any Qi-compatible charging station without the need for wired chargers that plug into wall sockets. All devices and charging stations complying with the Qi standard will have a special Qi logo on them that is easily recognized.

A Qi-compatible device is charged simply by setting it on top of a charging station pad. Through a process known as magnetic induction, the charging station is the transmitter and the device being charged, the receiver. Placing the device close enough to the charger transfers power from the transmitter to the receiver, thus charging it up.

So far, a total of 20 million users use Qi-compatible phones and there are over 200 Qi-certified products.   that the standard is catching on, based on those numbers. If the trend continues, it would change the way mobile devices are charged in the future and make international device use easier.

The WPC seeks to have Qi compatible charging stations become more common than Wi-Fi hotspots in the future. It also seeks for compatibility with Qi to become the basis for many consumers buying a phone and not buying one.

Qi standard-compatibility is one example of magnetic technology changing the way the world operates. Another is the possibility of using roads to charge electric vehicle batteries. One such application is being tested in South Korea. Through a process called magnetic resonance, vehicles can be charged as they drive, thus eliminating the range limitations that plague some green vehicles. Of the two technologies, it appears that Qi compatibility will be the first to gain widespread use. It has already taken off quickly and does not require retrofitting millions of miles of roads.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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