TI shows industry's first contactless charging evaluation kit at CES

A new contactless charging kit from TI uses eCoupled technology to create a wireless power source

In conjunction with Fulton Innovation, Texas Instruments (TI) will showcase a new contactless charging evaluation kit at this year’s CES. The bqTESLA kit will enable designers to develop contactless charging capability for products such as phones, MP3 players and GPS units. In the future, this technology could be used to develop compatible wireless portable devices and conveniently-located charging stations – offering consumers compatible, convenient, wireless connectivity – just one charger for all your devices and no power cords!

The bqTESLA kit incorporates inductive coupling technology developed by Fulton Innovation called eCoupled. The intelligent wireless power is created by a close-range technique that uses circuit boards and coils to communicate and transmit energy with the use of magnetic fields. Fulton has also developed ultra-low standby power technology aimed to improve overall efficiency and reduce power loss created by leaving portable devices in stand-by mode.

The kit will offer true "plug-and-play" design functionality without requiring additional software. It contains a single-channel transmitter, a direct-charge receiver and associated magnetics transmitter, a direct-charge receiver and associated magnetics. The kit is also compatible with the Qi standard being developed by the Wireless Power Consortium.

Wireless Power Consortium

The Wireless Power Consortium is made up of companies from Asia, Europe and America. The companies are from various industries and are cooperating on developing an international standard for compatible wireless charging stations. The Consortium is committed to developing an international standard for portable electronic products of five watts (and below) that will meet international safety standards. An international standard for higher power devices is expected to be developed in the future. This could signal the end of incompatible products and chargers cluttering up drawers and workspaces. It may also mean that last year’s models can still be used at charging stations carrying the “Qi” logo – a simple but noticeable sign even on small electronic devices.

“Qi” signals interoperability

Compatible products will carry the “Qi” logo – pronounced “chee” which means “vital energy” in Asian philosophy. The Qi symbol will also signal interoperability between power transmitters and power receivers – meaning that a Qi receiver will work with any Qi transmitter. The symbol will be instantly recognizable and in the future, consumers will be able to determine whether a new electronic device is Qi compatible. It is expected that compatible portable products such as phones and cameras will all work with charging stations exhibiting the logo – in places such as railway stations, hotels and airports.

Specifications and Pricing

The bqTESLA kit will contain:

  • Transmitter evaluation module
  • Receiver evaluation module
  • Transmitter coil, shielding and magnet
  • Receiver coil, shielding and magnet
  • Technical documentation

Designers can purchase the kit for US$250 and it is expected to be available by the end of the first quarter, 2010.

See the clip below which features a Fulton Innovation spokesperson demonstrating the eCoupled technology.

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