What is driving the need for wireless charging 2.0? The ability to charge electronic devices at-a-distance has been the key. When at-distance charging is combined with orientation freedom and small device charging we see the real potential of wireless charging. That is what consumers (and the companies that design products for them) are looking for – freedom.
I hope you were able to join Energous’ recent webinar “Decoding Wireless Power” on the nuances of wireless power, including what it takes to be commercially viable and safe according to global regulatory standards. Energous continues to remain focused on bringing wireless power-at-distance to numerous consumer, automotive, retail, industrial and military devices through collaboration with customers and partners.
We continue to progress forward on the path with our incremental roadmap leading to an all-new Wireless Charging 2.0 ecosystem.
We recently announced two significant steps in realizing that goal. First and foremost, we announced the FCC approval for a new, smaller over-the-air wireless charging transmitter solution and the availability of the WattUp® PowerHub developer kit for manufacturers. Let’s take this opportunity to discuss the interest, relevance and the potential for these two announcements in more detail.
The WattUp PowerHub incorporates our very latest single antenna, single Power Amplifier (PA), non-beamforming technology, and is based on an innovative architecture approach that will establish a path for full commercialization of over-the-air charging for small form factor devices. This new technology and our beamforming technology are different designs, with different capabilities targeted at different applications in a complementary way. While our beamforming technology will focus on charging longer distances and providing higher power, the WattUp PowerHub focuses on shorter distances in the most cost-effective way possible.
The applications for WattUp PowerHub can be quite diverse.
– Smart speakers and Wi-Fi Access Points charging various hearables and wearables.
– Gaming Consoles charging various gaming accessories.
– Automotive consoles charging key fobs and other accessories inside the car
– Automotive sensors for enabling wireless and battery-less automation
– Conferencing equipment charging various types of hearable devices
– Desktop devices like a clock radio charging various accessories.
These applications, collectively, represent a well-documented TAM of 2 Billion receiving devices coupled with the potential of a Billion transmitting devices based on a conservative 2 to 1 ratio. These initial distance applications coupled with our rapidly expanding contact-based applications are forming the initial wave of the wireless charging 2.0 ecosystem rollout.
Core to the user experience of the WattUp PowerHub is that fact that it creates a 15cm “charging zone” in front of the transmitting device where multiple receivers like smart glasses, hearables and wearables can be charged simultaneously without any placement or orientation restrictions. Simply drop the receiver in front of the transmitter, anywhere in the charging zone and it charges!!! This is a quantum jump from all the wireless charging technologies we see in the discussion today. As you can appreciate this is a true game-changer.
The simplicity of the architecture comes from the fact that it is based on a single PA and single antenna on the Tx. This allows the Tx size to be smaller while having a much lower bill of material cost. In a traditional beamforming system, we need multiple antennas and multiple PAs which increase both the cost and the size of the transmitting device. This architecture can be scaled to various Tx power levels depending on which Power Amplifier from the Energous PA portfolio, that spans from 1 to 10 watts, is utilized. With a patent-pending system and antenna design, the power zone can meet the Rx power requirements, while passing all the regulatory requirements. Reducing complexity makes it much easier to implement into a large variety of potential Tx products. When we combine with our simplified Rx implementation with just a few capacitors, one Energous chip and antenna, it becomes the only cost-effective, small footprint, scalable at-distance end-to-end charging solution available for mass-production today. A generally accepted consumer electronics norm is that in any CE product design, the cost is a critical factor and more often than not kills products before they are even launched. No matter how interesting or exciting they may be, products must be priced within reach of a broad spectrum of consumers to succeed.
In terms of frequency, the solution is based on 900MHz technology from Energous. It is important to point out that Energous is a fabless semiconductor company so in principle we are neutral to the frequency and have followed the analysis to the best choice. The importance is to not focus on antenna size as the driving factor – instead, we have to look into end-to-end system efficiency and how various frequencies impact the path loss and semiconductor efficiencies. The impact of path loss, when combined with the regulatory realities surrounding emissions, SAR and coexistence clearly point to 900MHz as the best path for global wireless power deployments especially considering our current target markets.
Building on this innovative architecture approach, the WattUp PowerHub developer kit will enable our partners and customers to easily integrate charging into products such as smart speakers, gaming consoles, access points and other such devices to enable charging-over-the-air of devices such as fitness bands, smartwatches, hearables and smart glasses.
The WattUp PowerHub developer kit is available now to prospective Energous partners and customers. Please visit https://www.energous.com/applications/wattup-powerhub/ for more details.
In summary, let me restate that the adoption of RF-based charging over-the-air is a paradigm shift from thinking about how fast you can charge a device to instead eliminating the worry with regard to your battery levels and the hassle of constantly having to charge your devices.
Save the date! On May 27th at 9 am PT and 6 pm PT we will be hosting a webinar on applications for the WattUp PowerHub and how you can leverage the technology within your product ecosystem. Please visit our webinars page to register: https://www.energous.com/newsroom/webinars/
As always, please reach out to Sales@energous.com with any questions you may have as we march forward along the path to wireless charging 2.0!