Technology

FCC Approves First Distance Wireless Charging System

Energous, a San Jose-based startup, stated that it had received the FCC certification for the first power-at-a- distance wireless charging system for its WattUp Mid Field Transmitter. According to the company, its wireless charges can charge the surrounding devices up to three feet away.

Wireless Charging system
Image Source: Energous/YouTube (screenshot)

Energous’ wireless charging system – how it’s different

Announcing the FCC approval on Tuesday, Energous CEO Steve Rizzone stated that existing wireless charging technologies had not been adopted widely even though it has been around for over fifteen years. Further, he noted that untethered, wire-free charging – similar to charging a fitness band while wearing it – is something that consumers have been waiting for.

“We are now in a position to move our consumer electronics, IoT and smart home customers forward at an accelerated pace,” Rizzone said in a press release.

According to the company, its WattUp technology can be categorized in three versions depending on the range from which it can deliver power to the devices. While the three-foot mid-range has received approval, the 15-foot long range is yet to get the approval from the concerned authority. According to the company, its technology is not brand specific, meaning it can charge devices from all brands, be it Apple, Sony, etc., provided they are fitted with the right receiver.

Talking of its technology, Energous stated that the transmitter converts the electricity in radio frequencies, and then directs the energy to the surrounding devices, which are fitted with a corresponding receiver. The technology used by Energous in its wireless charger is different from the resonant induction method used by the Pi wireless charging system. As a result, WattUp can charge devices at a longer distance compared to wireless chargers from other brands such as Belkin and Mophie that require physical contact with the device, notes Engadget.

Will Apple be the early adopter?

FCC approval does not mean that Energous is ready with the wireless charger. As of now, the company does not have any retail-ready device, but plans to show-off the new technology at the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2018. Further, there are rumors that Apple could use Energous’ technology in its products.

At the CES 2017, Energous CEO Steve Rizzone stated that his startup had cracked a deal with one of the largest consumer electronics companies in the world.

Rizzone did not reveal the name of the company, but said, “I can virtually guarantee that you have products from this company on your person, sitting on your desk, or at home.”

Towards the end of last year, Energous entered into a deal with Dialog Semiconductor, a long-time Apple chip supplier. This fanned the expectations that future iPhones could come with Energous’ technology. Further, at a recent quarterly conference call, the company said that Energous’ early adopters are existing Dialog’s customers, notes AppleInsider.

Smartphone makers like Apple and Samsung have long been in favor of wireless charging. The technology has been there for smartphones since at least 2009. It came up again in 2012 on Nokia’s Lumia range and Google’s Nexus 4, followed by the Galaxy S4. However, Apple only integrated the technology this year in the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X models.

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