Inductive charging (also known as “wireless charging”) uses an electromagnetic field to transfer energy between two objects. Typically this is accomplished using an induction coil to create an alternating electromagnetic field from within a charging base station, and a second induction coil in the portable device takes power from the electromagnetic field and converts it back into electrical current to charge the battery.
The nitty-gritty of all of this isn’t really that important for you to understand. If you want to know more you can always look it up on Wikipedia. What is important for you to know is how this will affect materials you chose for your home.
I previously wrote about the alliance between Dupont and Power Matters Alliance (PMA). Now there’s a new player in the surface arena offering wireless charging. LG Hausys has announced this spring it will begin to offer its own innovative surface-embedded wireless charging technology, called TechTop, in HI-MACS or Viatera surfaces.
LG will be using the Qi standard, part of the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), championed by Philips, Logitech, McDonalds and Ikea.
Using a CNC router, the back of the HI-MACS surface is routed to 6mm in thickness and the charging unit is installed in the route-out. Once the top is completely fabricated, the device is plugged into a power jack embedded in a bracket. On the surface, typically, the fabricator will indicate the center of the unit with a mark of some kind.
LG Hausys is initially focusing on the hospitality and retail sectors. Because the technology is so versatile, the company hopes to expand into other sectors such as entertainment venues and educational institutions as the wireless charging technology develops.
I have read that wireless charging can shorten the life of your phone’s lithium battery due to what is called waste heat. For optimum battery health, lithium batteries should be kept cool and above 50% charged as much as possible.
Historically, it’s made a lot of sense to stay on two-year contracts in the United States, since smartphones age so quickly, and you’ve gotta pay for your cell service at some point down the line. So if using a wireless or a rapid charger is what you need to get through the day I think the convenience is worth it. And, the wow factor of wirelessly charging your device within your kitchen is totally justified.
The platform your devices use may be the deciding factor when making countertop choices. Do you go with a Corian (PMA) surface or select HI-MACS (WPA)? Of course all of this will change again when new technologies such as charging batteries over Wi-Fi becomes accessible – but by then you’ll have a new phone and maybe a new home.