Technology

Get ready to chuck that charger, the future of over-the-air charging is coming

Wireless Charging, the predecessor of Over-The-Air Charging   | Photo Credit: boophuket for Getty Images/iStock Photo

“My phone ran out of charge.” This is probably one of the most often-used excuses for avoiding work-related calls today.

If Srinivasan Sridharan has his way, this might be history. The Seattle-based innovator recently filed a patent for ‘Systems and methods for authorisation and billing of users for wireless charging’ — where he is listed as an ‘inventor’ — on billing ‘over the air’ wireless charging. Let us say you pay ₹100 a month to your telecom service provider and you never have to charge your phone using a wired charger, because it can automatically charge ‘over the air’ using the cell tower site’s dissipated radio frequency energy.

This is the core concept behind Srinivasan’s latest project. His day job, as a Principal Engineer–System Design (5G) with T-Mobile, helps him to keep updated on the latest developments in technology, which in turn, gets him thinking about such innovations. The idea behind the current patent took shape when he wondered if a cell site tower could be viewed as an energy source and if that can be billed.

Seattle-based technologist Srinivasan Sridharan

Seattle-based technologist Srinivasan Sridharan  

“My patented algorithm would check if a user is a subscriber with the cellular company for the wireless charging service. It would authorise the user’s smartphone based on 3rd generation partnership program (3GPP) nodes to use the cell site’s Radio Frequency energy based on the subscription and the status of the phone,” he adds. This also means that the cellular company will have the capability to start and stop the wireless charging once it crosses a particular value. “It can differ from tower to tower and be custom-made depending on requirements,” he explains.

Driven by the future

Tamil Nadu-born Srinivasan’s passion is an extension of his everyday job that revolves around system design, analysis and quality engineering of advanced telecommunication Technologies such as 5G, 4G and the Internet of Things.

“The newer versions of Apple’s iPhone and Watch, and Samsung Galaxy smartphones can charge themselves while they are placed on a wireless charging pad. However, these devices must be in physical contact and must literally be placed on the exact position designed for it to work properly,” he says. Over-the-Air Wireless Charging, on the other hand, is “contactless and truly wireless” according to him. “One might not even notice that their phone is charging while it is in their pocket or handbag,” he adds. His patent ties in with the latest cutting-edge inventions in the consumer electronic battery industry across the world that questions the need for wires and electricity, for charging. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are the backbones of this technology.

“The wireless charging circuit on the devices would be constructed using logical algorithms based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) that would decide when to charge the battery based on the energy levels from the source and existing battery percentage,” puts forth Srinivasan, explaining that a smartphone and a wearable smart watch can be charged by a wireless source simultaneously. The device would also be able to learn your charging patterns based on Machine Learning (ML) algorithms implemented.

Looking ahead

With several companies working on over-the-air wireless charging technologies, the day might not be far when we can get rid of the charger we hold dearly to.

“Technically, India is fully prepared to adopt this practice once the Government bodies approve it after duly examining any safety concerns,” adds Srinivasan, who did his schooling in Chennai and Coimbatore, before working with leading telecommunication companies in India and the US over the last 15 years. The number of wireless providers in India has been a cause of concern — Rajinikanth’s film 2.0 broached this topic as well — but it could be a blessing in disguise for this new charging concept.

“More wireless providers mean more cell sites and more dissipated radio frequency energy potentially available to be used as the ‘source’ for wireless charging. Also, most of the urban middle class today have an in-home Wi-Fi router which would enable us in adopting the technology.”

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2020 8:13:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/srinivasan-sridharan-over-the-air-wireless-charging-patent/article32943460.ece

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