Xiaomi has announced “Mi Air Charge Technology,” a wireless charging system that the company claims is able to charge devices “within a radius of several meters.” Multiple devices can be charged at 5W at the same time, according to Xiaomi, and physical obstacles apparently don’t reduce charging efficiency.
Xiaomi says the technology will also work with smart watches and fitness bracelets. Another goal is to make “living rooms truly wireless,” with speakers, lamps, and smart home devices all being powered by the same remote system. A Xiaomi representative confirms that no commercial products will include the technology this year, and declined to provide a time-frame for release.
The core technology of Xiaomi’s remote charging lies in space positioning and energy transmission. Xiaomi’s self-developed isolated charging pile has five phase interference antennas built in, which can accurately detect the location of the smart phone. A phase control array composed of 144 antennas transmits millimetre-wide waves directly to the phone through beam forming.
Needless to say, you should be skeptical about the prospects of this technology making it to market until evidence suggests otherwise. Companies like Energous have been making announcements about “truly wireless charging” at CES and beyond for several years, but the technology is yet to gain serious traction. Xiaomi has demonstrated wireless charging engineering breakthroughs in the past, however, and has the advantage of owning a huge hardware ecosystem that it could theoretically leverage.