Patent documentation recently released by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has revealed that Samsung might be working on over-the-air (OTA) wireless charging technology for its smartphones and tablets. OTA wireless charging is unique and different from the existing forms of charging in that it does not rely on any contact between the phone and the wireless charger. The current common form of wireless charging based on the Qi technology has the charging pad connected to a power outlet, and needs users to place the compatible device onto the charging pad.
OTA wireless charging works over a larger range than Qi wireless charging, such as being in the same room as the charging unit. As soon as the compatible device enters the range of the charger, it will start charging wirelessly over distance that can go up to a few feet. Thus, charging could take place even while the phone is in your hand or pocket, as long as it’s within range of the wireless charger.
The technology is of course some years away from practical use, but the patent information recently released by WIPO shows that Samsung is already working on it. It’s worth noting that a handful of other organizations, including Disney, are already working on OTA wireless charging technologies.
The specific patent in this case talks about a way to allow charging energy to be focused on devices anywhere within the room, by allowing the energy to bounce off walls and move around obstacles. Thus, charging will continue to take place even if the device is moving around within the room, such as when you’re walking with the phone in your pocket or hands. However, we’re some years away from seeing OTA wireless charging make its way to regular everyday use. It does seem that when the technology does arrive, it will be Samsung pioneering its use.