July 12-13, 2017 saw this year's Wireless Power Congress in Munich, staged by the publication Elektronik and the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC). On the two days some 170 attendees heard 25 papers dealing with new technical developments, on the use of wireless power transfer in industrial and medical applications, in the automobile, plus compliance with standards and directives.
Two keynotes – from Menno Treffers, chairman of the WPC, and Joerg Hantschel, business development manager WPC wireless power transfer of Wuerth Elektronik eiSos – presented an outlook on the wireless power future.
A number of companies – IDT, Omicron Lab, Seiko Instruments, Shanghai Chushan Technology, Varta and Wuerth Elektronik – showcased their selection of products for wireless power applications at the accompanying exhibition. Part of the program of the Wireless Power Congress 2017 was the Evening Mixer to wrap up the first day – an evening served with Bavarian delicacies for contact in a relaxed atmosphere and discussing the problems one might have.
Power and charging cables are becoming obsolete
In future the batteries of mobile devices will be recharged wirelessly, and many domestic appliances will have neither a power cable nor electrical contacts. Wireless power is likely to become the standard in power supply – thus the protagonists.
For the youth of today a telephone is nothing other than a smartphone. Wireless communication is taken for granted – wired telephone sets now rank as something exotic. This is similar to what the protagonists of wireless power see for the future. In a few years wireless power transfer will become the normal way to recharge batteries. Power supplies and charging cables will disappear from consumer cognizance. The desire for more convenience will do away with power supply cables. But developers have some obstacles to overcome before we get this far.
Five key factors
In his keynote starting the Wireless Power Congress on July 12, Menno Treffers, chairman of the WPC, forecast the continuing triumphant advance of wireless power leading onwards from the smartphone. But the prophesied success is not going to drop into the lap of the device manufacturers and designers. They must look to five key factors: safety, efficiency, freedom from interference, cost and compatibility. The major factor being safety. But the biggest challenge is not that of single factors one by one but of getting all five together.