Silicon Valley startup named Pi showcased its Pi wireless charger at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco that can charge a number of devices within about a foot in any direction. The charger operates on standard charging technology used in wireless charging enabled smartphones such as Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, and Galaxy Note 8 or Apple’s iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X.
Pi wireless charger emits magnetic waves in all directions to fuel up device’s battery. It can charge multiple devices at the same time when placed within a distance of about 12-inches from the charger. Charging speed varies by distance, the closer the device is to the wireless charger the fast it charges and vice versa.
It will definitely provide more flexibility over mats or pads where you have to put the device on in order to charge it and as soon as you lift the device up, the mat stops charging. According to the co-founder John Macdonald, Pi uses a beam-forming algorithm which directs magnetic field to wherever the device is sitting.
“The hard part was figuring out how to make magnetic charging more flexible, multi-device and extend its useful range. It took us over a year to complete the mathematical proof that makes it all possible,” said co-founder and company’s CTO Lixin Shi.
The company demonstrated Pi’s working onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield using 5 devices, four smartphones plus one tablet, and they all started charging when brought in the range of the Pi wireless charger. It has raised $3.5 million in a seed funding round led by SoftTech VC managing partner Jean-Francois Clavier.
The wireless charger will be priced under $200 and start shipping next year. The device won’t work with laptops as it has a maximum power output of 20w, however, there is a possibility if the output is increased with different components.
Lixin Shi and John Macdonald started working on the project 3 and a half years ago when they were students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They met by chance in an entrepreneurship class and began working on the project to make it a reality.