WTF is Xiaomi Mi Air Charge technology?

Down with the wire

How excited can somebody reasonably get when discussing wireless charging? The answer has probably eluded experts since the days of Nikola Tesla (mainly because wireless charging didn't exist until very recently), but we have a hunch we're about to find out.

You see, Xiaomi has just unveiled a brand new slice of charging tech that feels legitimately sci-fi, and might actually revolutionise how we refuel our gadgets.

It's called Mi Air Charge technology, and it's about to blow your puny mind.

Alright, simmer down. What is it, exactly?

Okay, so we might've been a tad overzealous, but we're pretty damn excited about what Xiaomi had cooked up.

Unlike traditional wireless charging tech, which generally requires users to place their gadgets on a charging stand or pad, Mi Air Charge is truly wireless. It utilises a remote 'charging pile' that can detect the location of your smartphone and beam energy over to it through thin air.

According to Xiaomi's best and brightest, the charging pile has "five phase interference antennas built in, which can accurately detect the location of a smartphone. A phase control array, composed of 144 antennas, transmits millimetre-wide waves directly to the phone through beamforming."

There's a lot of jargon, but essentially it'll charge compatible devices as long as they're within a radius of a few metres. No cables, no pads, just automatic wireless charging taking care of itself.

Ah, so it'll only work with smartphones?

Nada. Xiaomi has developed a miniaturised antenna array with a built-in "beacon antenna" and "receiving antenna array" that converts the millimetre wave signal emitted by the charging pile into electrical energy.

That antenna can be used to ensure Mi Air Charge is compatible with a wide range of devices, and Xiaomi claims the tech will eventually work with smartwatches, speakers, desk lamps, and other smart home products.

It'll even be able to charge multiple devices simultaneously (each device will support 5W remote charging), so it could feasibly keep an entire smart home ticking over while you do, well, whatever it is you do.

I'm sold. When does it launch?

As always, there's a catch with these things, and while Xiaomi has been more than happy to wax lyrical about its latest technological revolution, the company has been less forthcoming with a launch date, so you won't find it on the Xiaomi Mi 11 for instance. 

Right now, we don't know when - or indeed if - Mi Air Charge will be rolled out to consumers. It's likely there's still a bit of fine tuning to do behind the scenes, but Xiaomi's proclamation that "today, we enter a true wireless charging era" implies the company is confident it'll become a viable reality eventually.