Making wireless charging a viable thing is far from being a new goal, but to date, no method has caught on in a big way. That's no surprise, of course, given the large number of downsides that we've seen from the solutions that do exist, including lack of range and the potential dangers of strong Wi-Fi-like signals being shot at towards a device without a focused direction.
Well, Microsoft might have an alternative solution, and this might just be the first example of wireless charging I can put a little confidence behind. It involves light rays, but not solar pads. Because indoor light is so weak compared to outdoor light, it's not realistic to rely on those light rays to charge a device. So, Microsoft built its own charger, in the form of a light fixture.
Equipped with a high-powered LED flashlight, whenever this light fixture detects a compatible device kicking around, it'll begin beaming light straight at it. However, a big problem arises here immediately: no one is likely to want a light randomly pointing at their phone. It's mentioned that infrared lights could be used down-the-road to fix that problem.
What could make this charger really useful is the fact that it won't simply continue to charge a device when its battery is full. Via an on-phone LED, the mobile device would handshake with the light source, and either charge or not charge depending on the battery-level. This could also allow people to set their own minimum battery-level, to reduce the amount of time they themselves actually have to put up with a light being shone on their device.
In the event that an object or person crosses paths with this LED light, the system is designed to shut itself off within 50 milliseconds. Overall, this technology is looking quite appealing, especially when you realize that it promises to charge our devices in about the same time as a regular outlet.
I am not personally that interested until infrared models are worked on, but it goes without saying that this is a cool jump forward in the wireless charging game.