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Ditch your smartphone charging mats: Pi charges from 12-inches away

Teaser
A new startup going by the name of Pi looks set to change the way we charge our devices in the near future. If it works as promised, you can get set to ditch your wireless Qi charging mats.
Sanjiv Sathiah,
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The convenience of being able to charge your device wirelessly is a key selling point of both the new iPhone X and the iPhone 8 models. Of course, Android users have been enjoying the Qi wireless charging standard that Apple has finally adopted for some time now. If there is a minor inconvenience to this tech, it is that it requires you to place your device on a charging stand or charging mat to work. Move it off the mat, and there goes your charge too. Not so with the new Pi wireless charger developed by engineers working out of MIT.

The technology works using the same resonant induction charging method that is used by Qi. The key difference is that Pi has been able to develop a beam-forming algorithm that directs a magnetic field to where each of up to four devices is sitting. Devices closest to the Pi wireless charging station charge the fastest, but they can still charge anywhere up to 12-inches away (above, to the side or below). The maximum power output is also just 20W, but this has allowed the Pi to be certified as safe by the FCC.

The Pi startup has received over US$3.5 million in seed funding and is expecting to ship the device in 2018. At this stage, the plan is to sell the device at below US$200. The company is also looking to partner with companies who might be interested in building the Pi technology into their devices. We can see the technology potentially playing nicely with smart speakers like the Google Home, or Apple HomePod, which could double as Pi charging stations. Either way, this is an exciting development and one that may finally see us ditch both our cords and our charging mats.

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Sanjiv Sathiah
Sanjiv Sathiah - Senior Tech Writer - 1296 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2017
I have been writing about consumer technology over the past ten years, previously with the former MacNN and Electronista, and now Notebookcheck since 2017. My first computer was an Apple ][c and this sparked a passion for Apple, but also technology in general. In the past decade, I’ve become increasingly platform agnostic and love to get my hands on and explore as much technology as I can get my hand on. Whether it is Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Nintendo, Xbox, or PlayStation, each has plenty to offer and has given me great joy exploring them all. I was drawn to writing about tech because I love learning about the latest devices and also sharing whatever insights my experience can bring to the site and its readership.
contact me via: @t3mporarybl1p
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2017 09 > Ditch your smartphone charging mats: Pi charges from 12-inches away
Sanjiv Sathiah, 2017-09-19 (Update: 2017-09-19)