Xiaomi reveals Mi Air Charge, but won’t commercially launch any products that support the technology this year

Xiaomi Mi Air Charge
Xiaomi promises to wireless beam electrical power to nearby compatible devices. Pic credit: Ali Uyar/Pixabay

Xiaomi officially announced the ‘Mi Air Charge’. As the name suggests, it is a wireless charging system.

The Mi Air Charge is not another ‘Wireless Charging Pad’. Instead, it appears to be a miniaturized version of Nikola Tesla’s revolutionary Wardenclyffe Tower.

What is Xiaomi Mi Air Charge?

Nikola Tesla dreamed of wirelessly transmitting electricity across great distances. Xiaomi has built upon the concept, and offered the Mi Air Charge. It does not, however, transmit power “over great distances”.

According to Xiaomi’s own words, the “Mi Air Charge Technology is a wireless charging system”. The company claims it is capable of charging devices “within a radius of several meters.”

The wireless charging station is quite compact, about the size of a nightstand. But the basic principle is the same. Xiaomi wants to wirelessly beam electrical current to nearby devices.

The system does not need any cables, stands, or pads on which devices can rest in order to receive power. Instead, the Mi Air Charge beams electrical power “using advanced spatial positioning and beamforming energy transmission.”

Xiaomi claims it has developed an isolated charging pile unit with five phase interference antennas. These can accurately detect the location of a smartphone or compatible device.

After locating a compatible device, a phase control array with 144 antennas then transmits millimeter-wide waves directly through beamforming. While the Mi Ari Charge is a transmitter, devices receiving power will need a receiver.

Xiaomi claims it has a corresponding miniaturized antenna array with a “beacon antenna” and a “receiving antenna array” for smartphones. The beacon antenna broadcasts low-power positional information.

Meanwhile, there’s a receiving antenna array that uses 14 antennas to convert the millimeter-wave signal directly into electric energy. The energy emitted by the Mi Air Charge, in the form of a millimeter-wave signal, needs a rectifier circuit for transforming it into usable electrical power.

How quickly can Xiaomi’s wireless charging system recharge compatible devices?

The majority of smartphone companies are offering ever-faster charging technologies. The latest iterations of Fast Charge technologies such as VOOC, Dash Charge, Quick Charge, etc. can recharge a smartphone within an hour.

The Xiaomi Mi Air Charge can charge multiple compatible devices such as smartphones within a radius of several meters. Xiaomi assures physical objects cannot hinder or reduce the transmission and charging efficiency.

However, the Xiaomi Mi Air Charge can send out power at a rate of just 5 Watts. Most modern-day smartphone batteries sport a capacity of 4000 mAh and higher. At just 5W, the majority of devices will need several hours to charge fully.

Interestingly, Xiaomi intends to expand the technology to smartwatches, wristbands, and other wearables, as well as smart home speakers, desk lamps. However, none of the company’s products expected to launch this year will support the wireless charging system.

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