True wireless charging at last! Microsoft introduces light beam charging method for smartphones

True wireless charging at last! Microsoft introduces light beam charging method for smartphones
Innovation seems to be alive and well at Microsoft, whose Research arm appears to be working on a new mobile device charging project called AutoCharge. One of its goals is to create a truly seamless smartphone charging experience where you don't deal with cables and charging pads. Microsoft's prototype charging system uses a combination of image recognition and solar charging to automatically identify a smartphone on a desk and start firing charging photons at it. Black magic, people!

By Microsoft's word, the experimental prototype shows the light charger automatically identifies the smartphone in some 0.3 seconds, and proceeds to charge it almost as fast as existing wired chargers. Solar charging is a very unexpected solution for such an application, as both outdoor and indoor usage is unfeasible due to conditions such as the weak, scattered in-room lighting, or users carrying their smartphones in their pockets where no light can enter. Microsoft had to devise a method for indoor solar charging, making it work 24 hours per day. The ambitious task is accomplished by firing a straight beam of concentrated light with little scatter, which allows it to carry the necessary charge. 

As for the image recognition part, it is facilitated by a camera that monitors a surface - for example, your desk. Algorithms detect when a smartphone in need of charge is in the eye of the camera, and if that happens to be the case, a rotating motor adjusts the direction of the charging beam so it hits the right spot.

Before you ask, yes, the smartphone to be charged absolutely needs an integrated solar panel to receive the energized particles. While the technological accomplishment of light charging is impressive to the point of being a Nicola Tesla dream turned true, it will take quite some time before smartphone makers are convinced to start putting solar panels on them. What would the designers think?

If you are particularly curious about Microsoft's invention, check out the entire white paper at this location.


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22 Comments

1. vuyonc

Posts: 1089; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

The future is here! Well, it's not now. Like those super batteries, viable PHOLED displays, YOUM phones, curved camera sensors etc. We have to wait quite a while...

6. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

Here is the future!!

14. juandante

Posts: 679; Member since: Apr 23, 2013

Don't be fool. This thing is bulls**t. How to explain someone in their bedroom that they will have to use a bright light to charge their phone ? The only solution is to use magnetic waves outside of the visible range but between infrared and U.V. the choice is neither clever. Infrared is difficult to transform in electricity in 2015, and U.V. is extremely dangerous. This thing is complete s**t marketing and will hardly arrive on the market.

18. callmearia44

Posts: 2; Member since: Jan 20, 2015

Did you even read the documentation? The paper explains exactly how infrared can be used (and the how) to eliminate the visibility problem. Second, it clearly lays out that this isn't necesarily for home use in its current concept, but rather for an office environment. Nobody is saying this is ready for prime time, hence the reason people are saying "future". You keep telling people not to be fools but you're just making yourself look stupid.

22. Nero40

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 20, 2015

Did you just post the same exact comment twice? Lol.

2. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Sounds awesome but what would be the cost then. Anyways the future is bright. :)

8. redbaronk12

Posts: 99; Member since: Dec 14, 2013

I see what you did there

3. draconic1991

Posts: 200; Member since: Apr 27, 2012

i need charging anywhere in the room....although good to see this as well....

4. dimas

Posts: 3296; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

During Tesla's time, free wireless electricity concept was not funded because electric companies back then feared that they will lose profit. Kudos to microsoft for investing in this research that will harness naturally occuring solar energy. If the prototype works and will be extended beyond smartphones, it will be the biggest innovation of the century.

13. juandante

Posts: 679; Member since: Apr 23, 2013

This thing is bulls**t. How to explain someone in their bedroom that they will have to use a bright light to charge their phone ? The only solution is to use magnetic waves outside of the visible range but between infrared and U.V. the choice is neither clever. This thing is complete s**t marketing and will hardly arrive on the market.

5. NuRay

Posts: 15; Member since: Jan 04, 2015

lol image of gundam strike freedom

7. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Just don't let kitty sit in between two items.

15. hurrycanger

Posts: 1756; Member since: Dec 01, 2013

Charge the kitty, too.

16. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Now we're cooking with gasoline! You could probably sprinkle cat nip in air an watch charged pulses go by, kitty may want to do more then watch though.

9. medicci37

Posts: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

Microsoft & Tesla should never be mentioned in the same sentence!!!

10. Liveitup

Posts: 1798; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

Why not?, they're both innovative.

23. medicci37

Posts: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

There's nothing innovative about Microsoft. All they do is steal from others or buy if all else fails they keep throwing money at the problem. Ms has done a horrible job in the smartphone industry because they refused to listen to consumers or common sense

27. ZeroCide

Posts: 810; Member since: Jan 09, 2013

Microsoft has had a long history of listening to the consumers in their Products that is why they release consumer previews and take consumer complaints into consideration of product development. MS is one of the most innovative companies around they pour tons of money into R&D of new ideas and new product. So much so that they have a complete facility dedicated to this. Tesla set the footprint for that MS researchers are doing at MS's Edison Labs.

11. material

Posts: 80; Member since: Jan 08, 2015

Actual Flow Chart : Start - [ Is the device an IOS device ?yes: Exterminate the device and the user; no: Is it an Android?yes: Exterminate the device and persuade the intelligent human to use a Windows Phone ;no: Assume Its a WinPho , Begin charging ! ] -END

12. OrigPhoneGeek

Posts: 27; Member since: Jun 11, 2014

Anyone old enough to remember the movie Spies Like Us? It's taken until 2015 to get to "charged particles"...

20. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

Here's the most important thing I took away from reading Micorsoft's white paper... Even if it's never implemented in a product as more than a proof-of-concept/prototype: It is at least a working model, not just some sketch-on-a-napkin patent submission. Good job for Microsoft for actually innovating.

21. lime56 unregistered

Instructions not clear, d*ck stuck in and fully charged

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