It's now possible to wirelessly charge 40 smartphones from 16 feet away

Korean engineers are using the same tech as U.S. companies

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WiTricity, a creator of wireless charging systems, has an intellectual property (IP) license agreement with Toyota Motor Corp. Under the agreement, Toyota is expected to offer wireless charging on future rechargeable plug-in hybrid electric and fully electric vehicles.

David Schatz, director of business development at WiTricity, demonstrates to Computerworld how a new prototype wireless charger called "Prodigy" can power a device from about 10 inches away.

The size of the coils in WiTricity's system are dependent on the application and the application environment (i.e., a vehicle, a smartphone, a wearable computing device, etc.), Hedayat said.

The size of the transmitting coil is limited by the deployment environment and user expectations, while the size of the receiver coil is limited by the physical size of the device receiving power, Hedayat said.

For example, WiTricity's wireless power transmitters for vehicles are about 19-in. square by 2-in. thick. The receiver coils that would be installed in a car or truck are about one foot square by .4-in. thick,

WiTricity has been able to stretch the distance of its magnetic resonance charging field by using a "repeater," a small disk-like object that retransmits the magnetic signal.

WiTricity is by no means alone in developing magnetic resonance charging devices, though it does claim its is the first based on the MIT technology. The company is a member of the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP). There are three major alliances backing various forms of wireless charging, including inductive magnetic charging.

To date, products on the market have been built around magnetic inductive charging techniques, which require that a mobile device be in contact with a charging surface, such as a charging pad. The leading charging pad supplier has been Duracell's Powermat technology, a member of the Power Matters Alliance (PMA).

Two of the three major wireless power consortiums have agreed to establish interoperability standards for wireless power.

The partnership, announced earlier this year, pits the A4WP and the PMA against the largest of the industry groups -- the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), which touts the Qi (pronounced "chee") wireless charging specification.

Lucas Mearian covers consumer data storage, consumerization of IT, mobile device management, renewable energy, telematics/car tech and entertainment tech for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at  @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is

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Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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