Pi, a youngster Silicon Valley start-up company claims to have developed a device – aptly known as Pi Charger, can charge multiple devices within about a foot in any direction, wirelessly – no charging pad either!

For the most part, wireless charging standards like Qi are a bit of a misnomer – they aren’t “wireless” in the sense that they require a plugged-in charger. And the fact is, charging via a pad is still kind of a pain – you can’t really use them when they’re being charged and you either need a charging pad for every device or one ginormous pad for all of your devices. But with Pi, a new charging technology developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduates, there’s no need to plop your phone on a pad.

The device is called, well, Pi, and the company says it’s the first-ever contactless wireless charging product to make it to market. It’s shaped like a lampshade, or a cone with its tip cut off. It uses resonant induction, which is the same tech that Qi uses, but with a special beam forming algorithm that lets them shape and direct magnetic fields around the device. That means that instead of needing to put your phone directly on it, you can just put your phone next to it.

While this may sound somewhat similar to how Wi-Fi has implemented faster data transmission speeds, thanks to the use of multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) technology that there is an intrinsic difference between multi-user MIMO in RF communications and the physics of wireless charging. Creating this technology required solving one of the most difficult mathematical problems in electromagnetics, and perhaps that’s why no one has done it before. As for pricing, well, they don’t have that just yet, it is currently expected to hit the market under the $200 mark but the company is offering the first 314 who reserve the product via the company’s website a $50 discount code and it is expected to show up by 2018.

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