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SME Innovation | A wireless docking and charging station … and almost invisible

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The innovation is a wireless docking and charging station that facilitates hybrid work, but also intended for all workstations with communication and power cables.

Innovation

The Elia Station device, from the Quebec company GPHY, recharges laptops, tablets and cellphones placed in its active zone and connects them wirelessly to the various peripherals (extra screen, keyboard, mouse, microphone) associated with the station. of work.

The station itself does not add to the clutter of the work surface: it attaches under the table.

The first of its kind in the world, assure its creators.

who

GPHY (pronounced Djifaille, as in Génie PHYsique) was founded in 2018 by four graduates in engineering physics from Laval University, hence its name.

Interested in emerging wireless charging technologies, Anthony Blais, Hubert Audet, Myrik Hervieux-Gaudreau and Pier-Étienne Lehoux learned of the existence of a new technology more efficient than magnetic induction: resonant magnetic coupling.

From (without) thread to needle, the four engineers wondered if it would be possible to also eliminate the communication wires which also cluttered the workspace. They did it.

Incubated remotely by the Centech of the École de technologie supérieure (ETS), the Quebec-based company now has a dozen people.

It is the first wireless docking station. What we are replacing is the famous octopus that hangs out in our workspaces and which is crowded with wires.

Alex Sills, Vice President of Business Development, GPHY

The product

IMAGE PROVIDED BY GPHY

The Elia Station docking and charging station has the shape of a thin square disc 36 cm wide and 22 mm thick. To support this, GPHY has developed the Elia hybrid space management web platform, which interacts with it.

In the form of a thin square cake 36 cm per side and 22 mm thick, the Elia Station docking and charging station is installed under the worktop. A fixing plate is screwed there first, on which the device hangs, without visible screws.

The slim case with rounded edges, although it is hidden under the table, has been the subject of careful industrial design work by the firm Advanta design.

The advantage of technology

While magnetic induction hobs require close proximity and perfect juxtaposition with the receiver of the electronic device to be recharged, the resonant magnetic coupling transfers greater power over a greater distance and over a larger area.

On the work table, the recharging area of ​​the Elia Station covers 25 cm by 20 cm.

The station transfers up to 70W, enough to charge three electronic devices simultaneously, at the same speed as a wire.

This transfer takes place through a work surface that can be up to 50 mm thick, made of wood, plastic, concrete, ceramic – any material except metal.

Of course, you still have to connect the station to the mains – nothing is perfect.

“It also manages all the connections between the different devices,” adds Alex Sills. I put my laptop on the table inside the charging area. It will start to charge immediately, and it also connects to my second screen, my keyboard, my mouse, all wirelessly. ”

A patented station

At this time, current electronic devices are not yet compatible with resonant magnetic coupling technology. Until then, the Elia system has provided a small adapter that plugs directly (so wireless, all the same!) Into the USB-C port with which most devices are equipped, with the notable exception of the iPhone.

GPHY has joined the AirFuel Alliance, which enacted the standard of the same name and is campaigning with major manufacturers to have resonant magnetic coupling receivers integrated into their devices.

The Quebec-based firm has acquired the licenses for the resonant magnetic coupling, but holds its own patents for its wireless docking station technology.

The Elia Station is primarily intended for companies that offer a hybrid way of working to their employees. To this end, GPHY has developed the Elia hybrid space management web platform, which interacts with its station.

The future

GPHY plans to launch pilot projects in early 2022 with a few Quebec companies to test the product and complete its development.

In the meantime, the firm is planning an assembly line to launch large-scale manufacturing in Quebec.

“Once our quality standards are 100% achieved with our pilot projects, we will place orders to increase our production,” informs Alex Sills.

The company is primarily targeting the Quebec and Canadian markets.

“After that, we would like to go to the United States. We are lucky, we have the first wireless docking station. We have great ideas, we want to go as far as possible and sell it everywhere, ”says Alex Sills.



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