Long distance wireless charging could power your smart home


Wireless security camera with Archos Ossia technology

Archos plans to launch a security camera that, thanks to Ossia’s longer-range wireless power, is cable-free.


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After years of promise, promotion, and development, technology that can charge devices from across the room or through walls is hitting the market.

Ossia and Energous, both proponents of nascent technology, used CES 2022 to showcase new products that will keep security cameras, smart doorbells, earphones and similar products continuously charged while eliminating cables or charging pads.

Cota, a wireless charging technology developed by Ossia, will begin to appear in products from French electronics manufacturer Archos later this year, Ossia CEO Doug Stovall said this week in an interview from the show floor. from CES in Las Vegas. Cota’s sporting goods will include a fully wireless security camera, air monitoring sensor and pet tracker hitting stores this year. Archos has not yet disclosed pricing.

Stovall hinted that another Ossia partner, “think big Scandinavia-based furniture companies,” is working on commercializing their Cota Power Table, which uses Ossia technology to transmit power from the ceiling to the charging pads. of conventional telephones. The table could be useful in businesses such as coffee shops, allowing customers to turn on without plugging in.

Energous showed off a host of devices that use its WattUp charging technology, which also transmits power throughout a room. Products include EarTechnic hearing aids, Gokhale PostureTracker medical monitors, and Williot smart tracking tags. Energous did not disclose pricing or availability.

The launch of products using Ossia and Energous technologies highlights the maturity of charging systems that do not require a physical connection to a power source. Longer range wireless charging technology like Cota and WattUp sends beams of radio energy to devices that need modest amounts of power and are within several feet of the transmitter. Although not powerful enough to power a laptop or TV, the technology has the potential to ease the burden of the growing number of lower-powered Internet of Things and smart home devices in homes, offices, shops and factories.

“If you have smart locks, Ring-style doorbells, and other security cameras or baby monitors, it starts to add up,” Stovall said. “Suddenly, you have to start worrying about how you keep these devices alive.”

Ossia and Energous technologies detect devices and establish direct connections for higher power and greater efficiency. Ossia also offers software that determines which devices are allowed to charge, so customers don’t have to worry about neighbors stealing their radio waves.

Another company, Powercast, is using radio energy to power electronic price tags in stores that autonomous robots that roam the aisles built by Badger Technologies can read to monitor stock levels. Powercast also has consumer products in mind, as evidenced by University of Arizona researchers building Powercast-enabled medical sensors, which were showcased at CES.

Unlike short-range wireless charging, which uses the Qi standard and requires devices to be placed on a charging pad, longer-range wireless is still a battle between proprietary technologies. In addition to Ossia, Powercast and Energous, startup GuRu Wireless is also a competitor. Short-range charging took off in earnest only after the industry settled on a single standard.

One barrier to long-range charging in homes and businesses is cost. Charge transmitters, which send power to devices, cost between $ 200 and $ 300 for Ossia’s technology. Ossia’s receiving antennas and electronics, which add support to devices with the technology, add between $ 1 and $ 8, depending on power rating and other factors. (Part of that cost is offset by eliminating conventional power electronics.)

There is also a size trade-off. Miniaturization is nice, but larger transmit and receive antennas can transmit more power. Cota works on devices as small as an AA battery.

The Ossia Initial Load Transmitter is a panel approximately 2 square feet (60 centimeters) that fits into a ceiling panel. At CES, Ossia showed two smaller panels in development, one 40 by 40 centimeters and the other 30 by 30 centimeters. The smaller model could plug directly into a wall outlet or fit a smart speaker, but the smaller sizes have a shorter range.

Different varieties of longer-range wireless charging are also arriving. Startup WiTricity hopes that electric vehicle makers will embrace its wireless charging technology, turning parking spots, charging docks, and even roads into power sources. at CES, Samsung announced a TV remote that charges ambient radio waves, an example of a technology called energy harvesting.