When it comes to Apple delivering an advance wireless charging system, their most comprehensive system without a doubt was revealed two years in our report titled "Apple Reveals Master Details of Wireless Charging System." While it's the most advanced, it's certainly isn't the only invention Apple has worked on in respect to inductive charging. Apple has one for a future iPad cover, another for a crazy inductive charging tower apparatus, one for wearables and electric vehicles and another for a docking system that was revealed last month and yet another that covered a magnetics-based inductive charger last week. Today, a new Apple invention was revealed in a new patent application published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. While it's nice that Apple has a number of great inventions on inductive charging from which to draw from, it'll be nicer when they finally bring it to market. Yet like so many things, Apple is going to be late to the party on this front but when it arrives it's likely to be a superior design which will finally shut Samsung up. First is not always better as we've learned over time.
Apple's Patent Background
Induction may be utilized to wirelessly transmit power between electronic devices. Such wireless power transmission may be performed for the purposes of powering one or more devices, charging one or more batteries, an/or other such purposes.
Inductive charging devices, such as a charging pad or dock, may include an inductive power transmission system coil that is used to transmit power to an electronic device proximate to the inductive charging device. In cases where the inductive charging device has a single inductive power transmission system coil, the inductive charging device may only be able to transmit power to a single electronic device at a time. In order to transmit power to another electronic device, the electronic device currently proximate to the inductive charging device may have to be swapped out for the other device.
In some cases, inductive charging devices may have multiple inductive power transmission system coils. In such cases, the number of coils that can be included (and thus the number of different electronic devices to which a single inductive charging device may transmit power) may be limited by coil geometry, cross coupling and/or other interference between the coils, and/or other such considerations.
Apple's Invention Covers Tessellated Inductive Power Transmission Coil Configurations
Apple's patent generally relates to inductive power transmission, and more specifically to tessellated inductive power transmission coil configurations capable of charging multiple devices utilizing complex areas.
According to Apple, a system for inductive power transmission may include at least one interface surface and a plurality of triangular coil elements positioned underneath the interface surface such that at least one edge of the respective triangular coil element is adjacent to an edge of at least one other of the triangular coil elements. Each of the triangular coil elements may be operable to inductively transmit power to at least one coil of at least one electronic device and/or inductively receive power from the coil of the electronic device.
Each of the triangular or square coil elements may be operable to inductively transmit and/or receive power independently. Each triangular coil element may be operable to detect the proximity of one or more inductive coils of one or more electronic devices and inductively transmit power upon such detection. Each triangular coil element may be operable to inductively transmit power at different frequencies, power levels, and/or other inductive power transmission characteristics and may be capable of adjusting transmission to the requirements of one or more receiving devices. Multiple of the triangular coil elements may be operable to inductively transmit power at the same time and/or at the same time that other triangular coil elements are inductively receiving power. In cases where two triangular coil elements are inductively transmitting power at the same time, each may transmit at different frequencies, power levels, and so on.
Multiple of the triangular coil elements may be operable to inductively transmit and/or receive power cooperatively. For example, multiple triangular coil elements may detect proximity to the same inductive coil of an electronic device and/or inductive coils of the same electronic device (such as by monitoring current of the triangular coil elements, monitoring information exchanged between the electronic device and an electronic device incorporating the triangular coil elements whether exchanged utilizing the triangular coil elements and/or other communication components, and so on). In such a case, the inductive power characteristics of the triangular coil elements may be adjusted such that the triangular coil elements inductively transmit and/or receive power cooperatively, such as utilizing matching inductive transmission parameters, complementary inductive transmission parameters, and so on. Such adjustment may synchronize the triangular coil elements, intelligently cancel each other, and so on.
Although the coil elements are discussed herein as triangular, it is understood that this is an example. In various implementations, the coil elements may be one or more different shapes (such as rectangles, triangles other than equilateral triangles, hexagons, circles, ovals, squares, irregular shapes, other shapes, and/or a mixture of shapes) without departing from the scope of the present disclosure.
An Alternative Design: The Super Bowl
Apple's patent FIG. 2A noted below is an isometric view diagram illustrating a second example system for inductive power transmission. FIG. 2B is a cross section of the second example system of FIG. 2A, taken along line 2B-2B of FIG. 1.
Apple credits Graham Christopher as the sole inventor of patent application 20150280442 which was originally filed in Q1 2014. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
Last week we posted a report titled "Apple Invents a New Magnetics-based Docking System with Inductive Charging." Today, a second patent on that design surfaced under patent application number 20150280483 titled "Temperature Management for Inductive Charging Systems."
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