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Auckland company takes wireless charging to the world

Thursday 8 Nov 2012 5:51 p.m.

By Tony Field

Those chargers and cables you've got lying around the house could soon be a thing of the past. In fact, even power points could be obsolete.

An Auckland company has developed a technology that allows you to wirelessly charge phones, remote controls and other consumer products.

And Power By Proxi hopes it won't be too long before their wireless charging devices are in homes around the world.

“We really believe this is going to change the way people use power in their consumer devices over the next five to 10 years,” says executive chairman Greg Cross.

The technology uses magnetic fields to transfer power from a transmitter to a receiver, rather than using a cable. It’s used commercially in wind turbines.

The company's been working with the University of Auckland to miniaturise the technology so the receiver can be built into the batteries used in everything from phones to toy cars.

“You can have these pads in your home or office and you don’t actually have to carry the cable, you can just place your phone on the pad and it will automatically start charging,” says Mr Cross.

The university has been developing wireless power technology for decades, and UniServices technology development manager Will Charles shares Mr Cross’ vision.

“The vision we see is that in 10 years time the plug will be a thing of the past,” he says. “For cars […] but also consumer electronic devices.”

The transmitters could cost from $10 to more than $100 – but that will depend on their size and how many electronic companies license the technology.

Others are working on ways to charge devices from metres away - but Mr Cross says there are limits to the technology.

“It is possible to get power to be transmitted over long distances, but it is not possible to do it either safely or efficiently.”

The company will show off its technology at trade shows in China and Germany later this month.

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