MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Between smartphones, tablets, laptops, wearable tech and more, we love our gadgets on the go but when it comes time to recharge, most of us are still tethered to a power supply. But a host of industry groups are working on new technology that will let us power up, without the cord.
Publicist Erin Morrissey uses a special case to extend her smart phone’s battery life, and plugs in when she needs to power up.
She hopes not to have to.
“And, you know not have that stress of, ‘when will I get to this next outlet, you know, before my phone loses charge?,’” said Morrissey.
Right now wireless charging options require direct contact with a charging pad. But technology rolling out soon will allow the exchange of electricity over thin air.
“Some companies have come up with technology that actually does allow you to beam power wirelessly from one place to the other within a matter of, of inches at this point,” said Michael Gorman with Engadget.
That could mean power supplies with the ability to charge multiple devices hidden in desks or furniture and, the end of cord clutter.
“I could certainly see it in the next four to five years if the technology progresses, it to be kind of the de facto standard. Because I think nobody really wishes they had more cords to deal with,” said Gorman.
Some of the technology to charge over a short distance is expected to pop up in consumer products next year.
Both the Alliance for Wireless Power and the Wireless Power Consortium, have announced new technology with the ability to charge over a short distance.
John Perzow is with the Wireless Power Consortium. He envisions technology built into everyday infrastructure, so consumers can juice up throughout the day. “The idea, is that if your phone is always charged then you eliminate this thing we all share called battery anxiety. That’s the feeling you get as your phone battery starts to drop.”
But what about accessing power over longer distances the same way we do with wi-fi?
There are companies working on using antennas and radio bands or ultrasound technology to beam power throughout a room. “There is potential there, but that is still very, very early days,” Perzow said. The bottom line, experts say consumer use of wireless power is in the early stages, but adoption is expected to explode. According to one forecast, the global market for wireless power will grow to 8.5 billion dollars by 2018. That’s up from 216 million in 2013. Perzow said, “Over the next few years we’ll see the roll out of these devices embedded into our daily life.”
Erin is charged up about the prospect of wireless power over distance. “I think that really will, you know, help make my life a lot easier.” As for when we’ll see some of the technology to charge over a short distance on the market, experts say expect to see it in consumer products in 2015 and beyond.
One of the barriers for wireless power is that there isn’t one universally accepted standard that can be built into all products that need power.