STMicroelectronics and WiTricity are collaborating to develop semiconductor solutions for magnetic-resonance-based wireless power transfer. They see opportunities for their effort in powering and charging of consumer electronics, IoT devices and medical, industrial and automotive applications.

For the consumer electronics and IoT markets, power transmit and receive systems built with new semiconductors aim to deliver spatial freedom as well as wireless fast charging of more than one device at the same time. Semiconductor solutions built with the magnetic resonance technology will have unique advantages over current technology, including being able to efficiently charge metal-body smartphones, tablets and smartwatches.

Wireless charging plans

The collaboration is expected to combine WiTricity’s foundational IP and wireless power-transfer mixed-signal IC-design expertise with ST’s experience and resources in power-semiconductor design, fabrication and packaging.

The companies plan semiconductor offerings that comply with the AirFuel magnetic resonance specification as well as multi-mode solutions that incorporate both resonant and inductive charging. The AirFuel Alliance is driving an interoperable ecosystem of wireless-charging Power Transfer Transmit Units (PTUs) and Power Receive Units (PRUs) that enable users to charge their devices everywhere; in their homes and offices to public spaces and even in their vehicles.

ST and WiTricity have already demonstrated high-power wireless-transfer technology for electric vehicle charging at the APEC 2016, Long Beach, California. For the automotive industry, WiTricity recently announced wireless “park-and-charge” development kits using their 11kW solution for electric- and hybrid-vehicle charging.

 
T3803D -- A WiTricity Charger for laptops Figure 1: A WiTricity charger for laptop computers.