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How wireless charging works

Wireless charging allows your devices to stay powered with no plugs, cords or cables.

Wireless technology is continuing to transform our lives, with faster and more dependable mobile networks making devices like tablets and smartphones more essential than ever before.

Technology for keeping our devices powered is also advancing, with wireless charging becoming much more common. The days of cables, plugs and cords powering digital devices, wearables and even vehicles may soon be coming to an end.

But where are we right now with wireless charging technology – and where will it take us? Check out some recent advancements in this area and discover how wireless charging is shaping our world.

Wireless charging and autonomous vehicles

Wireless charging is an important step towards accelerating the adoption of self-driving electric vehicles among everyday consumers and motorists. The long-term expectation is that companies like Google will begin rolling out automated vehicles which users can order with an app, and that we’ll eventually forgo personal-use vehicles altogether.

In fact, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, began testing wireless charging systems for their electric-powered, self-driving cars in 2016, according to IEEE Spectrum. These cars aren’t equipped with pedals or a steering wheel, and can be fitted with wireless charging technology which would eliminate the need to plug them in to recharge their batteries.

This may not seem like a big deal, but self-driving cars can improve accessibility for millions of people, including children, the elderly, people with physical disabilities and those who may be unable to manually operate a vehicle.

Wireless charging for electric vehicles also eliminates the need for gas pumps and plugs. So as battery technology improves and the installation of more strategically-placed wireless charging stations expands, we may soon live in a world with lowered emissions reductions as gas-powered vehicles are phased out of the market and replaced with convenient, green, self-driving electric vehicles.

Wireless in the office

We tend to hear about wireless charging technology as it relates to charging stations in public spaces, but your office is one of the areas which may experience the biggest boon thanks to developments in wireless charging.

ChargeSpot wireless charging

One company specializing in wireless charging technology for the workplace, ChargeSpot, recently published data on how wireless charging impacts power in the workplace. They discovered that a ChargeSpot wireless charging station is used 14.6 hours a week, which translates into 10.7 full phone charges (or an average of 59 hours of battery life) per ChargeSpot.

They found that the average employee charged their phone 5 times more often with wireless charging, compared to traditional wired charging. And employees would leave the office with an additional 2 hours of battery life a day.

Not only is wireless charging helping employees keep their devices powered throughout the workday, but it also allows them to stay connected on the go and after work.

Wireless charging at home

Some of the most useful developments in wireless charging technology can be adapted for the home. Recently, furniture retailer IKEA rolled out a new line of nightstands which feature built-in charging stations for your tablet and mobile devices.

The nightstand, called the SELJE, features a small pad with a plus sign on the top to indicate where to put your device. This completely eliminates the need for pesky cords around the bedside, and can help reduce the amount of clutter in your bedroom, or anywhere else you decide to use the nightstand.

Ikea SELJE wireless charger nightstand

While these charging innovations are impressive and hopeful, wireless charging technology still has a way to go before cords are no longer necessary. In the near future, we can definitely expect to stay physically tethered to most devices requiring a charge. But we’ll also start to see more wireless chargers pop up and new devices enabled with cordless charging options — allowing us to experience the freedom that comes with wireless charging technology.


Up Next: Curious about other wireless technology? Go to How did they get Wi-Fi in that airplane?

How did they get Wi-Fi in that airplane?

Alyson Shane

Alyson Shane is a writer and business owner from Winnipeg, Manitoba who has been publishing content online for 16+ years. She runs Starling Social, an agency which develops digital marketing strategies that combine social media, paid advertising and content strategy to keep businesses growing and engaged with their customers. Outside the office, Alyson is a passionate urbanist who loves gardening, riding her bike and thinking about the public spaces that bring us together. She can be reached on social media at @alysonshane.

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