In September 2013 an Apple patent filing came to light revealing what could only be described as a Master Plan for an advanced wireless charging system using the iMac as a wireless charging hub. But of course not everyone wants or needs an iMac and so Apple has been working on several inductive charge pad ideas which have come to light recently (one, two and three). Today the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals their fourth inductive charging invention titled "Encapsulated Inductive Charging Coil."
In one aspect of the invention, at least one inductive charging coil is encapsulated within one or more walls of the enclosure of the electronic device. The electronic device can be any suitable type of electronic device, including, but not limited to, a digital media player, a smart telephone, a wearable electronic or communication device, a health monitoring device, a tablet computing device, and an inductive charging device.
The charging device can be a charging dock that receives an electronic device on a charging surface, or the charging device can be adapted to be inserted into a charging port in an electronic device. The inductive charging coil or coils can have any given shape or design, such as a spiral design, a conical design, a planar design, a toroidal design, and a helical design. In one embodiment, the inductive charging coil or coils are encapsulated within the enclosure by insert molding each coil into the one or more walls of the enclosure. In another embodiment, the inductive charging coil(s) are encapsulated within an opening that is formed in the enclosure and secured mechanically in the opening.
In another aspect of the invention, an inductive charging system includes a transmitter device that includes a transmitter coil, and a receiver device that includes a receiver coil. At least one of the transmitter coil and the receiver coil is encapsulated in an enclosure of a respective device. For example, the transmitter coil can be insert molded into the enclosure of the transmitter device, the receiver coil can be insert molded into the enclosure of the receiver device, or both the transmitter coil and the receiver coil can be insert molded into their respective enclosures.
In yet another aspect, a method for positioning one or more inductive charging coils in an enclosure of an electronic device can include positioning the inductive charging coil in a mold that defines a shape of at least a portion of the enclosure, and encapsulating each inductive charging coil in a material that forms at least one wall of the enclosure. The one or more inductive charging coils can be encapsulated in the enclosure by injecting a material into the mold to form at least the portion of the enclosure.
Apple's patent FIG. 2 depicts a top view of one example of an inductive charging system; in FIG. 5, both coils are encapsulated in the walls of their respective enclosures that are closest to the charging surface # 206. The transmitter coil #500 is embedded in the wall #502 of the charging device #202 and the receiver coil #504 is encapsulated in the wall #506 of the electronic device #204; FIG. 6 illustrates the charging device #602 removed from the charging port #606; FIG. 8 is a simplified cross-sectional view of the charging device and the charging port; and FIGS. 9, 10 & 11 example shapes that are suitable for an inductive charging coil. Example configurations for an inductive charging coil include, but are not limited to, a conical design, a planar design, a toroidal design, a helical design, a circular design, a spiral design, a basket weave design, or a spider web design. Inductive charging coils in these and other designs can include one or more conductors or wires. More on this invention could be found under patent application 20150311740.
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