Look, no wire! Charging goes Wi-Fi

Adith Charlie Las Vegas | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on January 07, 2015




Energous Corp’s WattUp uses radio frequency, Bluetooth, secret tech

Soon you will be able charge your devices wirelessly from 15 feet away. This is being made possible by a Nasdaq-listed company’s new charging technology that pumps out power to devices in its range, much like a Wi-Fi router.

The technology would be able to smartly decide which gadget, including phones and tablets, to charge first by determining the amount of energy left in those devices.

Called ‘WattUp’, the device was unveiled by San Jose-headquartered Energous Corp at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The technology uses a mix of radio frequency, Bluetooth and other undisclosed patented technologies for over-the-air charging.

“We believe we are the only exhibitor to be demonstrating true wire-free charging technology that lets users roam while their devices charge,” said Stephen Rizzone, Chief Executive Officer of Energous.

While wireless charging is not new, most products in the market need gadgets to be stuck onto a charging pad. In India, Nokia, Fatboy and other makers offer such charging devices.

On the other hand, WattUp doesn’t need a charging pad. It works by using low-energy bluetooth to locate compatible devices. Once contact is established, it sends out radio frequency signals on the same band as Wi-Fi. A small chip embedded in the target device then converts the signals to DC power. It works with devices that require power of 10 Watts or less.

Energous is keen to licence this technology to Apple and other device makers. At present, none of the device makers has this technology. The India-availability of this technology would depend on when the likes of Apple, Samsung and Micromax incorporate WattUp in their products.

However, not all technology enthusiasts are enthused by such wireless charging. “I don’t think I would want to be in a room with free moving power signals,” an executive with a leading hardware technology company said on the condition of anonymity. Sceptics say that a detailed safety assessment on the impact of wireless charging on human health is needed before the commercial launch of this technology.

(The writer is attending CES in Las Vegas at the invitation of Broadcom India)

Published on January 07, 2015

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