Wireless charging of smartwatches and earbuds possible through 5G: Trials for beaming data and power to small electronics through cell towers starting soon

5G Wireless Charging Tech Japan SoftBank Trails 1 Milliwatt
Beam data, calls, messages, and electricity using a 5G Tower. Pic credit: Carl Lender/Flickr

True wireless earbuds, smartwatches, and quite possibly, other miniature electronics with batteries, could receive power from a nearby 5G cell tower. Trials for beaming power and data using 5G antennae or ‘5G Wireless Charging’ are about to commence.

True wireless charging is still very experimental in nature, and the power transmitted through the air is still very limited. But it could be enough to recharge small electronics with miniature batteries.

Wireless charging of wearable electronics using 5G antennae is possible, and commercial trials are about to commence:

SoftBank is reportedly planning trials to test wireless charging of smartwatches and earbuds. 5G antennae will transmit power to these electronic devices.

The devices will start receiving power as they come within range of the 5G station and will continue to recharge as long they remain there. The range is currently limited to just 10 meters, but technicians and researchers are conducting trials to boost the charging radius to 100 meters.

There’s ample backlash and concerns about 5G networks. Although the majority of the discontent is based on rumors and baseless claims, SoftBank is not taking any chances.

Trials will deliver only about a milliwatt of power. This is not nearly enough to cause any harm. Researchers have assured the new wireless beaming technology cannot cause any negative effect on the human body. Researchers are even confident about no harmful effects even after prolonged periods of exposure.

Technical specifications and challenges of 5G wireless charging:

The 5G antenna used to beam power to miniature electronics will deliver electricity in the 28 GHz frequency band. Currently, the 5G wireless networking relies on two bands, 28 GHz and 26 GHz for communication and data exchange.

Simply put, the 5G wireless charging technology is relying on the same bands that regulators in major countries have tested and approved. Several researchers have already certified that these two bands are safe for use in urban environments.

Japan is planning to install 200,000 5G base stations. SoftBank will test the 5G Wireless Charging tech using these very stations.

Researchers will install a charging controller inside these stations. SoftBank, the Kyoto University, the Kanazawa Institute of Technology, and the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology have jointly developed the charging technology.

5G bands, even for mobile communication, have a very short range. Hence, the immediate challenge will be to enhance the range of the technology.

Secondly, a milliwatt of power is nowhere sufficient to actually recharge any electronic device. But boosting power delivery will pose several technical, regulatory, and quite possibly, safety challenges.

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