Wireless Power Comes Closer With Qi Tech Spec


Prototypes next month, and one day, a Qi power mat could charge all your phones and gadgets

A consortium has launched a bid to create a standard for charging phones and other devices without wires, and plans to demonstrate prototypes in September, and market it under the brand “Qi”.

Members of the Wireless Power Consortium are reviewing version 0.95 of its technical specification which defines a proposed standard for charging devices, using up to 5Watts power, delivered by electromagnetic induction. The spec could evolve into a standard – and will be demonstrated by multiple vendors on September 15th to 16th.

The consortium, which includes Samsung, Sanyo, Olympus, Philips and Texas Instruments, chose the brand “Qi” (pronounced “chee”) to refer to the concept of energy flow in traditional Chinese medicine, not the cult quiz show QI (for “quite interesting”) hosted by Stephen Fry on British TV.

The technology could be integrated into devices or provided as add-on sleeves, and is similar to the Touchstone used by the Palm Pre.

It is less ambitious than the system demonstrated this summer by Witricity, which operates at a distance of a few metres, using resonance, which the company claims has green benefits through replacing disposable batteries.


The group plans to make Qi charging pads which will work with any device carrying the Qi logo. This could cover “the majority of handheld mobile devices,” most of which need less than 5W, said a WPC spokesperson, who promised that the demonstration – at a WPC meeting in Eindhoven in September – will include prototypes tested for mutual compatibility.

“In just seven months the Wireless Power Consortium has advanced the standard to 0.95 for interoperability testing and moved to trademark ‘Qi’ as the first universal wireless power standard,” said Camille Tang, co-chair, of the WPC promotion work group. “These significant milestones have been achieved through strong collaboration among the Consortium members and pave the way for an accelerated 1.0 release schedule of the standard.”

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