Being forced to plug in your devices to charge them up could be a thing of the past for many of us in the coming years, according to new data from research firm IHS.
Total wireless power receiver shipments hit just 55 million units in 2014, but that figure will jump to more than 120 million in 2015, IHS reported Tuesday. The research firm said it expects wireless charging receivers to continue to grow in popularity, reaching shipments of more than 2 billion units in 2024.
Wireless charging represents an important shift for the tech industry. Historically, mobile-device owners have been forced to plug their products into a charger to refresh a battery. Wireless charging, however, ditches the cord and allows users to simply rest their device atop a charging pad to add juice.
Samsung made waves in the wireless-charging industry earlier this month after announcing that its flagship handsets, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, would support wireless charging. Apple’s upcoming smartwatch Apple Watch also supports a form of wireless charging, called “tightly coupled inductive solution,” despite having a charger that connects to the underside of the watch’s face.
IKEA, the world’s largest furniture maker, said it would start selling furniture that would come bundled with wireless charging. The first line of furniture will hit store shelves next month and work with compatible smartphones and cases.
Compatibility, however, is one of the major issues for wireless charging. Most devices on store shelves today do not support wireless charging, and those that do need to contend with competing standards. The Wireless Power Consortium offers the Qi wireless-charging standard, which is incompatible with standards from the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) and Alliance for Wireless Power. The latter two organizations are set to merge in July to help ease some of the competition, but Qi isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Zinc is a metal used by the body in producing and regulating insulin and the highest concentrations are typically found in the pancreas.
Insulin and Zn2+ enjoy a multivalent relationship. Zn2+ binds insulin in pancreatic Åâ¤ cells to form crystalline aggregates in dense core vesicles (DCVs), which are released in response to physiological signals such as increased blood glucose. This transition metal is an essential cofactor in insulin-degrading enzyme and several key Zn2+ finger transcription factors that are required for Åâ¤ cell development and insulin gene expression. Studies are increasingly revealing that fluctuations in Zn2+ concentration can mediate signaling events, including dynamic roles that extend beyond that of a static structural or catalytic cofactor. In this issue of the JCI, Tamaki et al. propose an additional function for Zn2+ in relation to insulin: regulation of insulin clearance from the bloodstream.
While zinc is only weakly magnetic, it does act as an antenna.
What is a good material for an antenna?
A conductive material
It’s probably pretty obvious that most metals are good conductors, because any time you see some sort of wire it’s always made of metal. Connections between parts in a computer are gold, and wires are made of copper. Not every metal conducts electricity equally. Let’s take a look at some common metals in order of their ability to conduct electricity. The top item on the list is the most conductive.
- Annealed copper
Silver is the most conductive, meaning that it’s going to do the best job pulling electricity out of the air. Copper, that favorite of wire makers everywhere, is close to the top of the list. Iron, used in cheap indoor antennas, is near the bottom of this list but still does a passable job.
We should expect zinc molecules to vibrate sympathetically as any radio antenna material would, in the presence of WiFi (microwave) energy. How could this not do physical damage and perhaps explain the diabetes epidemic and the declining ability of the pancreas to make insulin? It may explain this finding:
Microwave radiation also promotes amyloid fibril formation by bovine insulin at 60C. These alterations in protein conformation are not accompanied by measurable temperature changes…
So, we may be ignorantly damaging ourselves with wireless now, and even more so if we start putting enough power into wireless to charge devices, such as if we move away from the close inductive chargers to charging at greater distances.