This kind of remote charging has been hyped up for years now, but no company has ever successfully commercialized it. Xiaomi is no stranger to charging innovation, having introduced 80W wireless charging and 120W wired charging, but its previous advancements were more incremental rather than revolutionary. If the company manages to turn this into something more than just a tech demo — and it’s exactly that according to Xiaomi Product PR spokesperson Agatha Tang — then it’ll be one of those revolutionary technologies that change the way we use our devices.
So how exactly does it work? The company has shared some details on its new Mi Air Charge technology on its official blog. According to the company, this technology is capable of delivering 5W of power to a single device over a distance of a couple of meters from the “self-developed isolated charging pile”. This charging pile has 5 phase interference antennas to accurately determine the position of your mobile device. After determining the position, a phase control array composed of 144 antennas directionally transmits millimeter-wide waves through beamforming. The receiving device has a miniaturized antenna array with a built-in “beacon antenna” and “receiving antenna array.” The former broadcasts the position information while the latter is a 14 antenna array that converts the millimeter wave signal into electrical energy through the rectifier circuit.
The company has confirmed that Mi Air Charge is just a tech demo at this stage, so it’s not clear if the company will be able to overcome the implementational and structural market problems faced by other vendors that have shown off no-contact wireless charging prototypes. There are also health concerns, and there’s no doubt that if this technology ever makes it to market, it’ll be heavily scrutinized by regulatory authorities.
If Xiaomi is successful, this technology will be a game-changer for smart home products. Many companies have attempted to make remote charging systems in the past, so it’ll be interesting to see if Xiaomi will be the first to succeed.