- Chips to accelerate the adoption of wireless charging, with ability to efficiently charge metal-body consumer electronics
- Opportunities include consumer electronics, Internet of Things, mobile computing, automotive, medical, and industrial applications
STMicroelectronics, a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, and WiTricity, the industry pioneer in wireless power transfer over distance, on October 13, 2016, announced their design collaboration to develop semiconductor solutions for magnetic-resonance-based wireless power transfer. The goal is to “cut the last cord,” bringing convenience to the powering and charging of consumer electronics, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, as well as medical, industrial, and automotive applications.
WiTricity and ST are developing semiconductor solutions that combine WiTricity’s foundational intellectual property and wireless power-transfer mixed-signal IC-design expertise, with ST’s leadership in power-semiconductor design, fabrication, and packaging capabilities and resources. For the consumer electronics and IoT markets, power transmit and receive systems built with these new semiconductors aim to deliver spatial freedom, as well as wireless fast charging of one or more devices at the same time. Dubbed “Wireless Charging 2.0,” the semiconductor solutions built with the magnetic resonance technology will also have unique advantages over current technology, including being able to efficiently charge metal-body smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches.
The contemplated semiconductor offerings include designs that comply with the AirFuel magnetic resonance specification as well as multi-mode solutions that incorporate both resonant and inductive charging. The AirFuel Alliance, a global organization dedicated to delivering the best wireless-charging experience for consumer electronics, is driving an interoperable ecosystem of wireless-charging Power Transfer Transmit Units (PTUs) and Power Receive Units (PRUs) that enable users to charge their devices everywhere; in their homes and offices to public spaces and even in their vehicles.
Beyond the consumer market, WiTricity is the global technology leader in wireless power for automotive, industrial and medical applications. ST and WiTricity demonstrated high-power wireless-transfer technology for electric vehicle charging at APEC 2016 in Long Beach California. For the automotive industry, WiTricity recently announced wireless “park-and-charge” development kits using their industry-leading 11kW solution for electric- and hybrid-vehicle charging. The solution has successfully been tested by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) for inclusion in a new global standard.
“Combining the expertise of WiTricity, the innovator in wireless power-transfer and magnetic resonance technology with ST’s resources and key IP, including Smart Power technologies and RF Bluetooth low energy, allows us to deliver complete, efficient wireless-charging solutions that increase convenience and ease of use while delighting consumers and exceeding their expectations,” said Matteo Lo Presti, Vice President and General Manager, Analog, in the Analog and MEMS Group, STMicroelectronics. “Game-changing technology from this ST and WiTricity collaboration will enable product designers across the globe to rid the world of cumbersome wires and charging cables and allow us to promote a broader set of our own semiconductor offerings into these emerging markets.”
“STMicroelectronics is a global leader in semiconductor solutions for power electronics and a compelling choice to rapidly commercialize fast and efficient wireless-charging chipsets based on WiTricity’s silicon designs and magnetic-resonance technology,” said Alex Gruzen, CEO of WiTricity. “With ST’s vast experience in semiconductor design and fabrication, as well as its access to leaders in the consumer electronics, automotive, and industrial markets, this collaboration puts us in a strong position to accelerate the adoption of resonance-enabled wireless charging.”