REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 20 (UPI) -- A Microsoft team in China has created a prototype device that automatically locates and charges smartphones with a light beam.
Currently called AutoCharge, the prototype uses a Microsoft Kinect camera to look for smartphones and an LED flashlight torch to charge the phone via solar power technology.
The AutoCharge device can be put in the ceiling of a room and will identify the opportunity to charge when someone puts a smartphone on a desk "instead of forcing a user to explicitly indicate the intention of charging," the Microsoft team said in a publication.
The device would communicate with the smartphones via Bluetooth or a detectable LED light to determine how much charge it needs and would charge smartphones with the same speed as existing wired charges.
AutoCharge would charge multiple phones one by one and immediately turn off the light beam if there was an item blocking the way.
"As we use a light beam stronger than normal lights, safety issues must be carefully considered," the team said in the publication. "First, we must prevent the light beam from hurting people, particularly eyes as a kid may be curious and try to watch the light beam directly."
The light beam could use a spectrum that is invisible to human eyesight, as to prevent a bright light from disturbing people.