If you have ever had to wrestle with a messy tangle of cables, then the introduction of wireless phone charging will come as a welcome relief – but this useful technology isn’t actually all that new. Physicist Nikola Tesla first concluded that you could transfer power between two objects via an electromagnetic field in the late 1800s, and by the 1990s wires and electronics could be made small enough to make wireless charging feasible for devices such as artificial hearts and electric toothbrushes.
These days, the inductive charging method can be used for smartphones, tablets and even electric cars, but if it’s so convenient, why aren’t we using it all the time? One reason is that it isn’t very efficient, as a lot of energy is lost as heat – so your device takes longer to charge. It also requires your device to be very close to the charger to work, so it effectively still tethers it to a power source just like a cable charger.
However, this could change with a new method called inductive wireless charging that is in development and will enable power to be transferred over greater distances.
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