Expanding Opportunity of Wireless Charging in Wearables

By Mike Harmon, Director of Marketing, NuCurrent

Mike Harmon, Director of Marketing, NuCurrent

The wearable market is one of the fastest growing segments in the consumer electronics industry, so understanding the opportunities and benefits of emerging technologies in the marketplace is more important than ever.

According to IHS Markit, “The market for wearable technology is expected to be worth around $60 billion in 2021. With wireless charging enabled wearables already being adopted by high profile volume manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung, the potential for growth is immense.”

Given consumer demand for increased connectivity and mobility through wearables, the potential for market growth, and the benefits that the technology enables, the expanding roster of brands investing in wireless charging should come as no surprise.

The following table outlines some consumer and manufacturer benefits that result from integrating wireless charging into a device

WHAT IS WIRELESS CHARGING (a.k.a. WIRELESS POWER)?

In case you haven’t had an opportunity to look into the technologies currently leading the charge in the marketplace, below is a short introduction to the most relevant technologies.

MAGNETIC INDUCTION AND MAGNETIC RESONANCE

International standards bodies, including the Wireless Power Consortium and the AirFuel Alliance, promote near-field coupling approaches to achieve power transfer.

Inductive charging utilizes an electromagnetic field to transfer energy between a transmitter (charger) and receiver (device) via the process of electromagnetic induction.

Resonance charging also involves a transmitter (charger) and one or more receivers (devices). When objects of the same resonant frequency are placed close to each other, the energy produced is transferable between the transmitter and receiver(s).

Wearables have use cases for both types of charging, but it helps to discuss options with an expert wireless charging integrator to determine the best path.

GETTING STARTED

Because of the different charging methods and solution options in the wireless power industry, getting started can be a challenge. Below are some points to consider as you look at options.

• Understand the differences in charging technologies and which ones may be right for your application.

• Know the battery size and power needed to charge your device.

• Explore evaluation kit options from different integrated circuit manufacturers in the industry.

• Compare standards-based solutions with proprietary solutions.

• Seek out experienced development partners that understand the nuances of the different solutions. This can be the most important decision you make, so ask questions and choose wisely!

In the end, wireless power promises freedom from the tangle of cables and power cords that have kept consumers tied down. Your ability to provide them with the products they need and want may rely on your ability to integrate these technologies. Make sure you don’t get left behind.

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