Windsor International Airport in Ontario is the first public place to have a universal wireless charging station known as Qi. ((Steven Bull/CBC News))

Windsor International Airport in Ontario has installed a universal wireless charging station known as Qi, the first public place to get one, according to promoters.

The new technology, unveiled Friday morning, was the result of three years of research and development by big players in the wireless market, including Nokia and Ontario's Research In Motion.

The charging station is in the passenger lounge. When a wireless device is placed on the Qi mat, it charges automatically.

The goal, according to Qi manufacturer Leggett and Platt Inc., was to have a single worldwide standard for charging everything from BlackBerrys to iPhones.

And Windsor was chosen for the first Qi because the manufacturer hopes to build a market for the product in the automotive sector.

What is 'Qi'?

Qi is pronounced "chee," which means "life energy," according to Chinese philosophy.

Early adopters

City Coun. Percy Hatfield said the choice of Windsor is typical of the city's history on the cutting edge.

"If you go back far enough, Windsor was the home of the first electric streetcar, the first electric trolley bus," Hatfield said. "Even when they announced the GM Volt was going to be built, the mayor went out with EnWin [Utilities] and said 'We're going to have places to plug in the electric car.' So bringing this to our airport, this is great."

Airport CEO Federica Nazzani was pleased Windsor is the first airport to get the new wireless charging technology:

"Airports are just a natural fit for this type of technology because people are here sitting for long periods of time and need to charge hand-held cameras, laptops — you name it," Nazzani said.

"We want to be known as first supporting local companies but secondly being early adopters and really thinking about our passengers and what are they going to want in the future."