Rohm Wireless Power Transmission system hands-on (video)

Wireless power demos abound at CEATEC, and Rohm Semiconductor had their own variant on hand with a complete mix of direct-draw gadgets, along with the omnipresent charging iPhone 4 (or was it a 4S?). Like Murata's prototype, the Rohm flavor uses square electrodes instead of the coils that you'll find in traditional wireless power solutions, like Qi. But unlike that seemingly identical solution from Murata, this version supports much greater power efficiency -- something in the 92 to 93 percent range (compared to the competing pad's 70-percent efficiency rating). That means that the prototype that we're looking at here loses just seven to eight percent of power during transmission -- which is still unacceptably high, mind you, but far more tolerable. Rohm's Wireless Power Transmission system also allows you to charge or power devices by placing them anywhere on the pad, rather than directly over charging positions, and it supports much greater transmission, with one prototype outputting up to 100 watts.

Since power efficiency isn't something we could verify visually, what we could see at the company's demo did appear to work quite well. Powering a gadget is as simple as dropping it on the pad. Well, resting it gently -- this is a prototype we're talking about, after all. The 50-watt pad was able to power a fan, LED light, and a couple of charging smartphones without issue. The light and fan jumped to full power as soon as they made contact. A second pad got the juices flowing to a large OLED light panel, which was plenty bright when positioned on its own pad, but glowed quite dim when joining other devices. There weren't any charging laptops on hand, like we saw over at Murata, but with power output at 50 and 100 watts, either pad could theoretically support it. Like many of the prototypes we've seen at CEATEC, there aren't any plans to actually bring the system to market, but the technology could be used in other devices. We go hands-on after the break.%Gallery-135773%