Nokia Uses Lightning In Extreme Wireless Charging Experiment

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Nokia and the University of Southampton charge Lumia 925 with lightning

Nokia says it was able to charge a Nokia Lumia 925 in a matter of seconds by harnessing hundreds of volts of energy created by simulated lightning.

The Finnish manufacturer has been one of the champions of wireless charging technology and worked with the University of Southampton and its world leading high voltage laboratory to carry out the experiment, which it recommends should not be attempted at home.

“Using an alternating current, driven by a transformer, over 200,000 volts was sent across a 300mm gap – giving heat and light similar to that of a lightning bolt,” explained Neil Palmer, a scientist at the University of Southampton. The signal was then stepped into a second controlling transformer, allowing us to charge the phone.”

Wireless charging

Nokia Lightning Charge 1He said that although it won’t be possible for everyone to charge their phone this way for some time, the experiment gives researchers hope that it might not be too farfetched.

“This discovery proves that the device can be charged with a current that passes through the air, and is a huge step towards understanding a natural power like lightning and harnessing its energy.”

Nokia included built-in support for wireless charging in the Nokia Lumia 920 and has produced special cases for a number of its smartphones to make them compatible. This includes its current flagship device, the Nokia Lumia 1020, and the company said the experiment proved it was as committed as ever to the technology.

“This is a first for any mobile phone company to trial this kind of technology,” said Chris Weber, executive vice president for Sales & Marketing at Nokia. “We obviously aren’t recommending people try this experiment at home, but we are always looking to disrupt and push the boundaries of technology and find innovative ways to improve the performance of our products.

“As one of the first companies to introduce wireless charging into our products, we believe that this experiment has the potential to jump-start new ideas on how we charge our phones in the future.”

However, one potential pitfall for the wider adoption of wireless charging technology is the existence of a number of competing standards, including the long-established Qi and the Power Matters Alliance (PMA).

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Nokia Wireless Charging

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Nokia Lightning Charge