Controller aims to boost magnetic resonance wireless charging in laptops

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By Nick Flaherty

The WT8800 Wireless Charging Controller incorporates WiTricity’s magnetic resonance technology and proprietary design techniques to allow consumer brands to build wirelessly-powered products that work at the same speed as wired chargers. It is being used in the Dell Latitude 7285 2-in-1 laptop (above) launched at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.

“WiTricity’s wireless charging technology makes it possible to integrate magnetic resonance in today’s thin, iconic computing products,” said  said Neil Hand, VP Product Strategy and Innovation at Dell. “Dell continues their drive to be first to market with relevant new technology. This collaboration between Dell and WiTricity is making the wireless workplace a reality for customers around the globe,” said Alex Gruzen, CEO of WiTricity. “The Dell Latitude 7285 accelerates establishment of a broader magnetic resonance-powered wireless charging ecosystem for a wide range of devices.”

Consumer demand is growing for wireless charging experiences that are flexible and efficient. Solutions currently on the market that require precise alignment between device and power source are not meeting that demand. WiTricity’s magnetic resonance technology enables spatial freedom, the ability to charge through materials and the charging of multiple devices with the same source.

The WT8800 controller brings its magnetic resonance technology to products, enabling wireless power transmitters with scalable output power, ranging from a few Watts to 100W for wearables, smartphones, laptops and other devices. The mixed signal System on Chip (SoC) architecture integrates the complete analogue and digital controller functions of a Power Transmitter Unit (PTU) compliant with the AirFuel Alliance’s Resonant Wireless Charging Standard, ensuring compatibiity with the rest of the AirFuel ecosystem. The specific functions integrated include functionality to control the DC bus voltage, power amplifier and user interface. It also incorporates all appropriate safety features including current, voltage and temperature monitoring. The 10 x 10mm chip allows up to 30 W of power to a single coil measuring 15cm x 10cm, with 30mm of flexibility in the placement of the deivce to be charged.   

AirFuel-certified Wireless Power Transmitter system reference designs using the WT8800 are available for up to 30 Watts of delivered power. These designs are being used by consumer product companies and their ODM manufacturers licensed by WiTricity. Customization for other power levels is being considered. The WT8800-RB15 and WT8800-RB30 LIVE reference design kits support 15 W and 30 W designs with both transmit (PTU) and receive (PRU) electronics as well as all associated materials including schematics, BOMs, instruction manuals as well as invaluable tuning, system and software design guides.

“One of the biggest challenges in broad consumer adoption of wireless power is to offer a solution that provides the kind of experience they want – the ability to charge anywhere without having to think about it,” said David Green, Research Manager at market researchers IHS Markit. “Launching wireless power components to support both the technology products and the charging ecosystem such as WiTricity is doing here is therefore important, allowing brands to quickly adopt and grow support for the technology as the market looks to surpass 1 billion new wireless charging devices per year by 2020.”

“As the industry pioneer of magnetic resonance, WiTricity is committed to bringing consumers the wireless charging experience they demand – one that is natural, efficient and aesthetically pleasing,” said Alex Gruzen, CEO of WiTricity. “We’re excited to be offering the WT8800 controller, along with our robust library of reference designs, to help global brands accelerate their introduction of this game-changing consumer technology.”

WiTricity is working with ST Microelectronics as its silicon partner, and ST has also licensed the magnetic resonance technology.


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