* The Pi Charger was created by Lixin Shi and John MacDonald
* The device is the size of a small flower vase
* It uses the same underlying principle as Qi wireless charging and can charge a smartphone from a foot away
* Pi will cost well below $200 (NGN73,200)
Pi Charger is a device that was invented by Lixin Shi and John MacDonald – both graduates of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The device which is the size of a small flower vase is the first to charge phones wirelessly using magnetic waves. Unlike existing wireless chargers for smartphones which require a charging mat, the Pi Charger can charge smartphones from a foot away.
Pi’s Chief Technology Officer, Lixin Shi, said: “Magnetic fields are an ideal way to safely send energy to portable electronic.” During a presentation at the TechCrunch Disrupt startup scrum in San Francisco, the co-founders told an AFP journalist that the trick was “bending magnetic waves to find smartphones.”
Mr Shi also noted that: “The hard part was figuring out how to make magnetic charging more flexible, multi-device and extend its useful range.” The team has now sucessfully developed a way to control the magnetic field in order to beam energy to multiple smartphones and tablets which are within a foot of the Pi charger.
How It Works
It uses the same principle as that used by the new iPhone and some Android phones – The Qi Wireless Charging Standard.
The Charging Pad or “Vase” is made up of an inductor (Resonant inductor) which consists of a bar magnet with wires coiled around it. When connected to a power source, electricity passing through the coiled wires creates an electromagnetic field around the magnet which then enables the Pi to transfer voltage or charge to a smartphone or tablet that supports Qi wireless charging.
For phones that don’t support wireless charging, Cases will be created to enable them charge using the Pi Charger. Although the 20 Watts power of the Pi Charger is not high enough to be used for medical imaging, the idea of charging multiple devices (phones etc.) at a fast rate, from a foot away, using magnetic waves is truly amazing.
The founders have raised $3.5 million dollars seed funding through SoftTech VC Managing Partner, Jean-Francois Clavier and have set up their Pi shop in Silicon Valley, California. The start-up company said it will come to market with AirPower charging mats sized to accommodate an iPhone, Apple Watch and an AirPods earpiece case.
Pi’s co-founder, MacDonald promised that the Pi charger will begin shipping next year and will cost ‘well below $200.’
[Featured Image: Pi]