To date, innovation and investment in the wireless power industry has focused on radio frequency (RF) and magnetic inductive technologies that distribute energy over short distances, and provide low power (milliwatts to Watts), from the point of energy generation [i.e., a transmitter] to a remote system [i.e., a receiver]. High power transmission may be achieved using these technologies; but, doing so presents a trade in transmission distance, system footprint, cost, and efficiency. Particular methods of optical energy transmission, on the other hand, present us with the opportunity to increase both transmission distances and practical power transfer capacities.
Last month, Nimbus Engineering introduced their Power Relay Technology which bridges the gap between high-power and long-distance wireless power solutions. Power Relays volumetrically absorb light which reduces overall heat generation within the receiver, when compared to two-dimensional photovoltaic receivers, and increases overall energy transfer efficiency. It is well known that photovoltaic cells efficiently absorb narrow band frequencies of light to produce power. However, when the intensity of incident light reaches the photovoltaics’ maximum rated input power, each incremental incident photon results in heat generation, thus reducing the overall efficiency of the cell.
Nimbus’ approach to optical energy absorption increases the surface area and mass of material incident photons have access to. Power Relays utilize a proprietary design which incorporates several kilograms of photoluminescent material to absorb high-intensity, narrow band light allowing it to maintain a safe operating temperature. In a recent demonstration, their Power Relay received approximately 1.2kW of optical power from custom designed LED transmitter for over 30 minutes while remaining safe to the touch. The current system design enables a power output of up to 300-Watts DC when coupled with the appropriate light transmitter. Subsequent models are projected to provide power outputs of up to several kilowatts.
Because Power Relays can output hundreds of Watts to kilowatts, several Fortune 500 companies – especially those with vast numbers of physical retail and distribution centers – have begun to show interest in deploying Power Relays to improve the flexibility of their operations. For example, retail environments contain thousands of distributed digital assets that require electricity and, with a network of Power Relays, can easily be powered at a distance from a ceiling or wall-mounted transmitter without the use of unsightly, inflexible, expensive wiring. This additional electrical connectivity can increase the retailer’s in-store digital presence and enable two-way communications with customers via digital signage, while also maintaining a level of operational flexibility that is desirable for seasonal shifts in merchandising strategies or planogramming.
Power Relays can also be adapted to mobile systems, such as autonomous mobile robots, autonomous guided vehicles, and autonomous guided carts to enable hands-free charging, even if the system is in motion, so long as the transmitter can maintain line-of-sight (LOS) with the mobile-system-mounted receiver. This capability can further eliminate idling time due to charging events and facilitate frequent opportunity charging during the system’s work cycle. Additionally, this may allow industrial environments to optimize use of space by eliminating designated charging docks and locations for battery swapping.
To learn more about Nimbus Engineering and their technology, please reach out to William Diggins or visit their website.
For a new technology to experience global adoption, standardization and interoperability are essential. In this webinar, expert panelists from Comarch shared the challenges and benefits of creating a testing system, as well as the framework for a typical standards-based testing and certification program. Using the AirFuel Resonant Test System as a case study, presenters walked attendees through how product testing works and what to expect in the certification process.
This webinar recap summarizes the key learnings from the webinar on wireless charging testing systems and how they deliver industry-wide standardization and collaboration in wireless power. You can access the webinar recording using the form at the bottom of this article.
How Standardization and Product Testing Works
The mission of standard organizations is to make a particular technology widely accessible and to foster interoperability in the market. To achieve this goal, organizations need to use a particular technology standard and to get their devices certified. The development of this type of certification program starts with creating an automated test system and product testing procedures.
Certified devices provide end users confidence that the product is reliable and compliant with the specifications created by the organization. It also ensures safety and correct behavior of the product, and reduces maintenance costs caused by the product failing after purchase. Interoperability and user experience plays a significant role in the popularization of the standard. So why is a reliable and experienced partner so important to succeed with standardization?
The certification process is a sophisticated mechanism requiring expertise in several specialist areas such as test specification creation, test case creation and test tool development. All of these require the standards organization to have a reliable partner who knows the importance of understanding the standards organization’s industry, technical expertise and experience, and flexibility in dealing with timelines, business and distribution models.
Creating an Automated Test System for Wireless Charging Standards
The AirFuel Resonant standard was developed for wireless power transfer based on principles of magnetic resonance. The AirFuel Resonance system consists of a single Power Transmitter Unit (PTU), and one or more Power Receiver Units (PRU), with the signaling channel out of bands over Bluetooth low energy. The interface standard supports power transfer up to 50 Watts and distances up to five centimeters. The AirFuel Resonant standard can transmit power at a frequency of 6.78 megahertz from a single transmitter to up to eight receivers and devices.
So what does it mean? It means that if we place a PRU-equipped smartphone on the PTU along with a set of metal house keys, only the smartphone will be charged and keys will not get hot from the magnetic resonance. The transmitter can also be installed under the top of the desk without the need of modifying the desk, leaving the surface clear of wires and clutter.
The wireless charging test system software architecture is composed of three main elements:
Test tool engine
The hardware of the test system consists of:
Devices which simulate the power transmitter and power receiver
Test equipment (an external measurement devices) created from scratch, charger simulator, and variable impedance load for testing power amplifiers
An Automated Test System is an innovative, comprehensive combination of software development and hardware components. The software development means creating the test tool engine, synchronization algorithm and automation of CTS rather than IOP test cases. It is an application responsible for running, reporting and storing test results in the field of functional tests, compatibility tests and measurement of physical properties of transmitting resonators. Software integrated with the test application allows remote and automatic operation of measuring instruments such as circuit analyzer oscilloscope, Bluetooth analyzer or 6-axis robot arm.
Problems Faced and Challenges Solved During the Project
While building the wireless charging test system, Comarch was met with a set of engineering challenges. The problems to overcome included:
Standards that were at an early stage of development
Lack of a reference design
Time synchronization between external devices
Long-lasting testing and the limitations for manual testing (not every test could be done manually)
Simulator (to replace reference design)
Thanks to implementing an Automated Test System, the conformance of test duration has been significantly improved—shortening test time from one week to one day!
Features and Benefits of the Comarch Automated Test Framework
The Comarch Automated Test Framework (CATF) is a Windows-based software developed in .NET C# that can work with Python test scripts.
The system is called CATF and provides console access in order to run tests automatically, allowing the operator to pause the test flow in the event of the failure, which becomes useful when it becomes necessary to debug a device while testing.
Key here is that the system architecture includes a sequencer that is responsible for managing, selecting and running single or a group of test cases with new scripts. One of the benefits of using these systems is modular architecture that makes it easy to adjust and upgrade the test tool to the latest standard updates. Lower cost of creating test cases and maintaining the test tool are also big differentiators. An automatic version can come formatted with test strips that allow the operator to perform pre-certification test runs in the development phase.
Learn More About Wireless Charging Test Systems
If you would like to watch the full recorded webinar, just enter your email below to receive the link:
If you would like to learn more about the Comarch wireless test system and their work with AirFuel Alliance, you can read the project Case Study on the AirFuel Resonant Testing System and visit the Comarch YouTube channel to view the latest MAC Conformance Test Tool product demo, an example of Comarch’s contribution to launching the standardization program that certifies devices that confirm with the FiRa UWB standard.
If you have any questions or comments regarding Comarch services for Certification Alliances or you need an individual consultation, please visit the Comarch website or contact a Comarch expert on LinkedIn or directly via email: email@example.com
The Challenges, Benefits & Framework for Testing & Certification
May 11, 2021
8:00AM Pacific Time | 11pm Beijing Time
For a new technology to experience global adoption, standardization and interoperability are crucially important. In this one hour webinar, expert panelists from Comarch will share the challenges and benefits of creating a testing system, as well as the framework for a typical standards-based testing and certification program.
Using the AirFuel Resonant Test System as a case study, presenters will walk attendees through how product testing works and what to expect in the certification process. Join us for a deep dive into testing systems and how they deliver industry-wide standardization and collaboration in wireless power, and register to receive the webinar recording following the live event.
To watch the recorded webinar, enter your email below:
Director of IoT Consulting & Pre-Sales at Comarch
Wojciech is a manager with 15 years of experience. In the past he has built and led pre-sales and sales teams. He has been working for Comarch for nearly 2 years being responsible for cooperation between the pre-sales department and sales, marketing and production departments. He has been supporting Comarch’s professional services in the field of certification organizations.
Head of IoT Technical Pre-Sales Department at Comarch
Radoslaw has been working at Comarch for over 14 years. He has a wide experience in the broad area of embedded systems development and project management. Involved in creation of certification test tools including ATS for AirFuel Alliance. Since 2016 he has actively supported the development of IoT products and solutions.
Ed Pichon, Moderator
Chief Technologist at E-Qualus
Ed has 20 years of combined experience in engineering, test engineering and military systems engineering, with expertise in writing requirements and test specifications. He currently serves as the Certification Authority for AirFuel Alliance and the MulteFire Alliance. In addition to those roles, he also works for the OnGo Alliance as their Ecosystem Program Manager. He has a Master’s of Science in Systems Engineering from Southern Methodist University.