Microsoft patent could mean 'ultrafast' wireless charging for future Surface PCs

According to a freshly published patent, Microsoft has its eye on the future of charging our neverending stable of electronic devices, and it promises to be "ultrafast." In the filing, first unearthed by Windows Latest, Microsoft describes a novel wireless charging method that could bypass the limitations currently posed by wireless charging tech.

As wireless charging is currently implemented, a single charging coil is used to juice up battery modules when placed on a charger. Microsoft's patent proposes a solution that would utilize a smart battery made up of multiple modules, each with its own charging coil that overlaps with those around it. Each coil would be able to receive power in concert with the others, with an integrated controller managing the power supply independently for each module, based on a number of conditions.

The result of such a configuration would be much more rapid wireless charging on future devices that implement the tech. That could certainly include Microsoft's own devices, like Surface Go, Surface Pro, and Surface Book. But the patent is broadly applicable to a wide variety of consumer tech, including fitness wearables, IoT devices, and the PC and tablet market at large.

"Conventional solutions for wireless charging smart batteries do not utilize more than one charging coil per battery and did not take into consideration the physical configuration of the charging coils of the smart battery. Moreover, conventional solutions did not manage each battery module differently and independently from other battery modules of the smart battery system, thereby decreasing the functionality and flexibility of the smart battery," Microsoft says. "Accordingly, the present methods and apparatuses may provide an efficient solution, as compared to conventional solutions, by providing ultrafast charging of a smart battery."

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • Bring it!
  • I don't personally see the value for Surface class devices, since when my machine is at home charging I usually also want it docked with extra peripherals, but it's a cool idea nonetheless.
  • Wireless charging for Surface is a cool idea for when you're using it on desks and don't want to be tethered! It could be at a desk at home but in a scenario where you wouldn't need a dock. :) I use a USB dock with my Surface at work because it was good enough and much cheaper than a Surface Dock.
  • Sounds good to me, although I have to admit my Surface Pro 2017 charges pretty damn quickly and its using a power adapter to make it charge via a UK plug to a USA mains, my 950XL is quite the opposite however and takes a long time to charge and the battery depletes pretty quickly, all this after replacing the battery, which I may need to do again or buy a refurbished HP Elite X3, what you guys think? HP Elite worth £280?
  • Hey FizzySignal, I too replaced my 950xl battery only to find it was next to useless. Then I found this and it seems to be as good as the original.
  • The power play here "pun intended" is to have these chargers built into counter tops and tables in public places, like a Tim Hortons or Chick-fil-a.
  • Some airports already have qi built into tables and benches. But there need to be more, I'm amazed it hasn't become more widespread.
  • It says, pdf is of invalid format.
  • Dare I say, Surface Andromeda in the list of future devices. This novel rapid wireless charging tech could boost the brand's popularity up another notch.
  • No. If anything they should follow existing standards and work with them to make them better. Having to need different wireless chargers for phones and Surface devices is just bloat.
  • I hope they will also consider incorporating replaceability of the battery, instead of having to discard a whole pc device just because the battery performance degraded beyond practical use. If electric car batteries can be replaced, why not pcs too?
  • I'm sure it's a cost thing. At some point, the cost of replacing the battery is more than the actual value of the device as a whole. Given the much higher purchase price of cars, and their much longer expected life, spending the money to do the replacement for cars makes more sense.
  • I'm sure everybody else will have this and use it except Microsoft. :D
  • Would be cool in a mobile device, Right? :D
  • Well, we do already have Qi, PMA and what not. Just they are no longer as fast as USB.
  • Agreed. I'm talking about all the effort being put into developing such technology by Microsoft. Once again it is like the left hand not knowing what the right does.
  • "Once again it is like the left hand not knowing what the right does."
    True, Microsoft has always been like that but I fear it could be something else other than stack ranking and each department operating almost as a seperate company. I'm sure Microsoft could develop such technology but given the broad and vague nature of patents (legally) it may prove difficult and also they don't exactly have the best track record when it comes to implementation - Tap to Pay is a primary example. However due to the nature of wireless charging, you need to take into consideration health + safety as you cannot supply too much energy through a charging coil as it will cause it to heat up. If they could get a material that can output massive amounts of energy without heating up drastically then it would be possible. Otherwise you'll end up situation where the coil will heat up like a kettle heating element lol. So you will have to optimise the coil size and energy output - which is why the only logical way to do that is to have individual coils which are able to sense the charge capacity of each battery pack and adjust accordingly. As well as being no bigger than a certain size and not exceeding a fixed energy output level.
  • No, they will make huge amounts of money on the licenses....
  • 0.0 well there goes my idea that i've been holding under wraps 🤣. Hopefully we see implemented sooner than later. I'm tired of power wires and fixing USB charging ports.
  • Wireless charging is stupid, because it is never wireless. You just plug the wire into a base that then charges the device slower than if you would charge it directly. It would make sense if the chargers were built into everything, but they are just one more accessory you have to buy. Can't wait for the Pro 6 to have a Hub for $200, a pen for $100, a keyboard for $130 and a wireless station for $100.