Startup Pi out to slice the charging cord

Pi co-founders Lixin Shi left and John Mac Donald tout their invention as the world's first wireless charger that does away wit

One of the frustrating things about wireless charging at the moment is that you need to have your device, whether that's your phone or your Apple Watch, sat directly on top of the charging pad in order for it to work.

Pi chargers, about the size of a small table vase, operate on standard charging technology used in Apple or Android smartphones created to be powered up wirelessly. A new startup called "Pi", however, aims to enable charging from a greater distance between the device and the charger. "As the first wireless charging company to develop the technology, we've always envisioned a world where wireless power is ubiquitous, and we believe the popular iPhone will take wireless charging to the mainstream".

Unlike other features that Apple have made proprietary, this time they chose to go with the existing Qi wireless charging protocol.

"The hard part was figuring out how to make magnetic charging more flexible, multi-device and extend its useful range", Shi said. Shi further explained that the resulting slower charge times were a result of the current power limit of 20 Watts, but theorized that future designs could be improved by integrating higher capacity components to boost throughput. Up to four devices can be charged at the maximum speed of 10W. Its eponymous cone-shaped charging station is based on the resonant induction technology present in the Qi standard, but it eliminates the need for a charging pad. The technology is available for iPhones, Galaxy phones and even a large pad, but it requires an appropriate charging case. MacDonald said that the magnetic fields of Pi are relatively weak, but would allow the devices to be charged at full speed.

With the release of wireless charging on the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, we're confident you're about to see a lot more wireless charging technology pop up. CEO John Macdonald showed off the Pi's skills at TechCrunch Disrupt along with CTO Lixin Shi. The first 314 early adopters will receive a $50 discount code, so feel free to visit this link if you're interested in owning such a device.

At this stage, the Pi wireless charger is expected to ship sometime in 2018.

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