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As Apple explores truly wireless iPhone charging, Disney Research demos cord-free room concept

Disney Research has showcased an automatic, unaided charging platform that would enable purpose-built structures —such as cabinets, rooms or even entire warehouses —to generate and deliver power to mobile receivers in close proximity.




The concept showcased by Disney could pave the way for the introduction of contactless wireless charging in smartphones. It also comes as Apple is said to be researching truly wireless power capabilities, potentially for a future iPhone.

Quasistatic Cavity Resonance (QSCR) uses objects found in the average household to generate magnetic fields to safely transport kilowatts of power to devices with an integrated receiver. If the concept materializes, it could recharge mobile devices, and be used to provide direct current to products that need to be plugged in when in use, such as an iMac or TV.

Disney's proof-of-concept utilizes an entire room with metal exterior and a copper pole in the center, allowing the entire space to be filled uniformly with a magnetic field. Using Disney's technology, a user would be able to simply walk into a room, office or other space and their phone would begin charging.



Disney said its tests found that a room could deliver power to small coil receivers in nearly any position in the room, unimpeded by objects like furniture. It was delivered with between 40 and 95 percent efficiency.

Back in December, wire-free charging firm Energous inked a deal to develop and market components through long-time Apple chip supplier Dialog Semiconductor, instantly triggering a slew of reports from analysts claiming that the firm is working with other chip manufacturers to bundle the technology on a next-generation iPhone.

Such technology appears unlikely to appear in an iPhone soon. But in the interim, it's believed that Apple will instead embrace a contact-based wireless charging solution for this year's "iPhone 8" and "iPhone 7s."



In fact, Apple's recent decision to join the Wireless Power Consortium —the governing body that oversees the Qi charging standard found on many modern devices —could hint that the next model of the iPhone will feature a similar version of wireless charging to the one found on the Apple Watch. The wearable device requires the unit to be positioned on a magnetic connector that attaches to the heart rate monitor.

Beyond wireless charging capabilities, the "iPhone 8" is rumored to introduce a host of new technology, including an edge-to-edge OLED display, an iris scanner and a Jabil-made stainless steel chassis. It's said that components like the Touch ID sensor, FaceTime camera and earpiece will be hidden beneath the purported 5.2-inch display.

While there's no evidence that Disney Research has worked with Apple on its wireless power concept, the two companies have been close for years, and Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger currently holds a seat on the Apple Board of Directors. Apple cofounder Steve Jobs worked with Iger during Disney's $7.4 billion acquisition of Pixar in 2006, and Jobs aided Disney in a retail redesign in 2009.