Californian tech start-up Pi Charging has designed a contactless charger called Pi that can power up multiple devices simultaneously.
Rather than using electrical cords or mats, Pi charges via magnetic waves and resonant induction – similar to the tech that powers the wireless charging function found in the new iPhone X. Devices placed within 1ft of the conical-shaped charger, in any direction, will all receive power. However, speed varies by distance, with gadgets placed closer to the device charging more rapidly.
Founders Lixin Shi and John MacDonald met at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US and began collaborating on the project about three-and-a-half years ago. Together, they developed an algorithm that allows Pi to direct a magnetic field safely to wherever a device is sitting. "What's at the heart of this is this algorithm that lets us shape a magnetic field," MacDonald told TechCrunch.
The company has raised $3.5m in a seed funding round led by Californian venture capital firm SoftTech VC. The devices are due to start shipping in 2018, and will cost less than $200.
In the future, the company plans to develop a component that's compatible with smart home devices, enabling them to be charged with the gadget as well. For more on how smart devices are becoming increasingly sophisticated and ushering in a seamless way of living, see Internet of Home Comforts.