wireless charging system that's incompatible with industry standards? Murata seems to think that we do. The company's prototype uses neither conductive nor inductive transmission, instead bringing its new capacitive coupling technology to the cordless charging mix. Capacitive coupling uses square transmitter and receiver electrodes, instead of the coils used with Qi devices. It also doesn't require a physical connection like near-obsolete conductive tech, which dictates that both the charging pad and receiving device use metal connectors that must be joined to transfer current. The Murata system is far from being production-ready, with only 70 percent efficiency (30 percent of electricity is lost during transmission). The sample the company had on hand can support 16 watts of output with a maximum of 2.1 amps, making each pad capable of charging several small gadgets, or one larger device, like a laptop.
Murata seemed more interested in demonstrating the concept behind capacitive coupling than actually proving that it works -- the laptop we saw "charging" was a plastic mockup, though the base did glow red when the laptop's charging pad came into contact (though it also glowed blue at times, as you can see in the image above). We did take a close look at an iPhone case, however, which appeared to be remarkably thin -- much thinner than models from Powermat, for example, though the case does extend below the dock connector. Another advantage of the square electrodes is that you don't need to place devices in a certain position on the mat in order for them to charge -- they simply need to be positioned within the general charging area. We take a closer look in the video after the break.