AirFuel™ Alliance is an association dedicated to building a global wireless charging ecosystem based on best in industry inductive, resonant and future wireless charging technology. AirFuel Alliance’s mission is to bring a diverse base of interoperable products to the global market that deliver the best wireless charging experience for consumers and continues to address future, non-magnetic technologies including RF, ultrasound and lasers that deliver power at a distance. The Alliance envisions a future where the world’s mobile devices can power up without plugging in.
The organization membership today is made up of nearly 200 leading technology and consumer electronics companies, including board of directors companies AT&T, Broadcom, Duracell, Gill Electronics, Integrated Device Technology, Intel, MediaTek, ON Semiconductor, Powermat Technologies, Qualcomm Inc., Samsung Electronics, Samsung Electro-Mechanics, Semtech, Starbucks and so on.
About "rezence" specifications developed by AirFuel (A4WP)
"rezence" specification developed by AirFuel consortia brings an enhanced consumer experience through spatial freedom. Spatial freedom offers the ability to:
1. Increased horizontal and vertical placement flexibility: Charge multiple devices on a single charging surface at the same time (x-y freedom)
2. Increased flexibility in industrial designs: Charge devices without physical contact to charge area (z-freedom).
• Applicable to charge the wearable products such as smart watches, smart glasses and fitness bands, etc.
• Industrial designers have an easier time designing around this technology that does not need to be placed as close to the surface
• Spatial freedom enhances the ability to retrofit into existing furnishings. Since "rezence" can operate at a distance, this minimizes the need to perform invasive cutting and drilling.
3. Charge multiple device types with different power requirements at the same time (Bluetooth headsets, phones, tablets, etc.)
Q: What Is AirFuel (the technology)?
A: An innovative standard for enabling convenient wireless charging, AirFuel establishes a seamless interoperable global ecosystem, where wireless power is available in locations like homes, offices, restaurants, and hotels, as well as in vehicles and on public transportation.
Born from the merger of two leading wireless charging organizations – the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) and the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) – AirFuel comprises of two of today’s most innovative and mature charging technologies—inductive and resonant—and will also make it possible to charge a variety of devices in one place, even those with differing power requirements.
Q: Is AirFuel a specification or a standard?
A: AirFuel Alliance is actively working with standards bodies around the world to ensure our technology can be adopted on a regional basis. The AirFuel Alliance resonant certification program today features authorized test labs AT4 wireless (AT4w) and Telecommunications Technologies Association (TTA). The program is aligned with ISO 17065, an internationally recognized standard to ensure conformity in the certification of products and processes. AT4w and TTA have the global reach that enables AirFuel Alliance member companies to access a facility fully capable of testing and certifying qualified AirFuel compliant resonant products. Additional ISO 17025 ILAC-accredited test labs are expected to come online in early 2016.
Q: How many members comprise AirFuel Alliance?
A: 195 as of November 2, 2015
Q: How does AirFuel treat intellectual property?
A: AirFuel Alliance members comply with licensing under RAND (reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms. The Alliance does not get involved in the licensing discussions amongst member companies.
Q: Will the new brand impact the introduction of new inductive and resonant-based wireless charging systems into the market?
A: No. The new alliance name does not have an effect on product introduction or the technical interworking of the alliance in general. Once the brand grace period is over, products are expected to carry the AirFuel name and brand marks across resonant, inductive and multimode products.
Q: What is multimode wireless charging and what does it mean for the industry?
A: A multimode system is one that operates with two or more underlying technologies. This can mean a receiver or transmitter incorporating AirFuel inductive and AirFuel resonant technology, or one AirFuel technology along with a third party offering. Multimode systems help ensure optimum consumer satisfaction by increasing the likelihood the wireless charging technology employed within their device(s) will operate with the target system.
Q: What is AirFuel Alliance view on multimode? Will this be a permanent focal point?
A: AirFuel Alliance supports the use of multimode systems. In assessing multimode architecture, AirFuel Alliance agrees with the independent research firms such as IHS pointing to multimode being a short to medium term bridge as the industry moves towards deployment of resonant based technology.
Q: Will there be more of an investment in magnetic resonance for future upgrades/updates?
A: AirFuel Alliance will continue to advance both the inductive and resonant technologies, as well as future, non-magnetic based wireless power transfer. Investment decisions are the purview of individual member companies who alone decide which technology or technologies they will pursue.
Q: When will AirFuel roll out to existing products?
A: The AirFuel brand is available to member companies today. We are allowing a grace period where products currently or soon to be on the market will be allowed to use the previous brands and logos. This transition period will end in 2016, after which time it is expected all certified products will employ the AirFuel brand.
Q: Under the AirFuel name, when will consumers see the first magnetic resonance-based products?
A: This is a question best asked of member companies who, at their discretion, can reveal their product launch plans. What AirFuel Alliance can state is that under the former A4WP, multiple transmitter and receiver units had been certified. It is expected AirFuel resonant-based products will be announced during and after CES 2016.
Q: A4WP and PMA has demoed product at 2015 tradeshows. Are these the final versions of what we’ll see on shelves and at airports/hotels/coffee shops?
A: The previous Rezence (A4WP) product demonstrations were prototypes and reference designs from a variety of former A4WP members. The former PMA members have various products already in market. What is shown at CES 2016 are emerging products, upgrades to prototypes shown previously, and consumer products already in and entering the market.
While some of these companies comprising AirFuel Alliance supply finished product to consumers, others are component suppliers. Specific companies can further highlight what format their demonstration product(s) fit.
Q: Will a certified charging surface from one resonant-based member company work with a receiving device from another resonant-based member?
A: Yes, a product that is certified by the AirFuel Alliance will be interoperable with other devices that carry the AirFuel-resonant logo.
Q: How quickly does wireless charging charge compared to wired charging?
A: Typically a device will charge in a comparable time as using a conventional wired power connection, regardless of the wireless power standard employed. Based on the physics alone, there are no limitations that prevent a wireless charging system from charging in a similar timeline as a wired system. However, a direct comparison between wired and wireless charging is hard to make due to several factors. Charge times can vary depending on factors such as battery size, wall adapter quality, and a devices power management interface (for example many devices using inductive technology are current limited due to heating issues).
Q: If I have multiple devices all on a resonant-based charging station, do all get the power needed by the unique device, or is the same to each? Is there a cut-off?
A: Under the current specification, a charging surface distributes the needed power (up to the listed maximum power output rating of the charger) to all devices on that surface until a full charge is achieved. For example, if two smartphones with different power needs are present on a single surface, the surface will charge each at the required amount, for instance 3.5 watts and 5 watts. Depending on the category of charging surface, they are rated to output power up to 22 watts today, with added power output coming soon to address charging of devices such as laptop computers.
Q: Is wireless power applicable to the healthcare and wearables sectors in products such as implantable medical devices and fitness bands?
A: In its broadest sense, wireless power applies to most any device that either draws power to operate (i.e. table lamp, keyboard) or requires a charge (i.e. smartphone battery). With regard to wearables, most such devices require wattage to power that falls below the current AirFuel specification (below 5 watts). The current specification already has provisions in place for low power devices and the technology is readily scalable.
Member companies including Intel, Qualcomm, Samsung Electro-Mechanics and Broadcom have demonstrated wireless charging of wearables since 2015.
Implantable medical devices are also a product category of interest to the wireless power community, and one that presents multiple benefits to those that have need for such equipment. Certain applications for implantables are being addressed by individual member companies. AirFuel Alliance will address this class of device as the need arises.
Q: How safe is wireless power? What precautions does AirFuel take for consumer safety?
A: AirFuel member companies have been working with global regulatory agencies to promote mutual understanding regarding regulatory requirements that may be associated with wireless power technologies.
Q: What reaction, if any, do metallic objects have when placed on a resonant charging surface?
A: Certain wireless charging technologies (not AirFuel) are known to heat metallic objects in excess of 55 degrees centigrade when employed in a resonant based charging system. This is primarily a function of the frequency at which these other technologies operate.
In June 2015, AirFuel, through Qualcomm, have created a resonant-based product that can charge metal-backed mobile devices.
This trait offers AirFuel members a clear advantage. One can place keys, coins, gum wrappers, etcetera in the charge area without significantly heating these objects. In addition, metallic objects will not shut down the charge process (foreign object detection is a solution used by some other technologies, but this leads to a shutdown of the charge process).
AirFuel’s resonant charging benefits by the frequency at which the technology operates, 6.78 MHz, which does not promote significant temperature rise. Resonant solutions that operate in the hundreds of KHz range can be negatively impacted by metallic interference, as this frequency is more commonly associated with processes such as induction cooking, forging and melting (i.e. heat intensive processes).
Q: How does Apple’s decision to incorporate wireless charging into their devices affect the overall growth of the industry?
A: Apple introduced wireless charging with its smartwatch earlier this year. Any company that strives to provide easier access and use of mobile device charging helps fortify the evolution of the electronics industry. Working with the top global brands in electronics today, AirFuel is committed to bringing the next generation of inductive, multi-mode and magnetic resonance-based wireless charging technology to the general mobile electronic user.