A new patent awarded to Samsung by the World Intellectual Property Organization describes room-scale wireless charging technology intended to overcome the limits of existing solutions which are still physically restrained to pads on which compatible devices are meant to rest while being recharged. Initially filed in 2016, the now-patented system relies on large panels that Samsung refers to as “reflectors” designed to focus a beam of energy onto any device in a medium-sized room. The effective reach of the solution hasn’t been outlined by the patent and neither was its efficiency, though current advancements likely wouldn’t allow for a platform that doesn’t waste the majority of used energy; just over a year ago, Disney Research managed to create an experimental wireless charger that’s much less compact than what Samsung envisioned yet even its massive copper pole that’s potentially deadly to people often dropped to 40-percent efficiency in the company’s trials.
The reflectors described by Samsung aren’t crucial for the patented system to work as they’re primarily designed to circumvent obstacles like walls. Only a single panel would be sufficient for the solution to be functional in a small room, the company suggests. The technology would be able to power multiple devices simultaneously, according to the patent documentation which doesn’t clarify on the matter. Being one of the world’s largest electronics vendors, Samsung’s patent portfolio is growing on a consistent basis and the sole existence of a room-scale wireless charging solution concept doesn’t guarantee such a system will ever be commercialized.
Samsung has been supporting wireless smartphone charging since the Galaxy S4 launched in early 2013, with the company initially providing the functionality through official wireless charging back covers. Following two iterations of such solutions, the Galaxy S6 series debuted native support for the technology in 2015 and all of the company’s ultra-premium Android devices offered the same functionality ever since. In the more immediate future, the next major improvement in the segment is expected to arrive from Energous, a San Jose-based company which already has a working wireless charging system with an effective reach of 15 feet (4.5 meters).