Tech DeKoded — The charge is in the air

Cota wireless charging tech

What if you could move around your home, have long phone calls, and never bother about plugging the phone into a power source or dropping it on a wireless charging mat? What if the phone charged itself over the air? Think of it like the midair refueling of a plane, but minus the connecting pipe.

WiTricity wireless chargingPC World claims the “new hot topic” for 2016 might be wireless charging, and we agree. Mind you, this one is not induction charging where you have to leave the device on a base plate. Instead, this is ‘true’ wireless freedom, where you can charge your gadgets at a distance from the base station.
Witricity techAt CES 2016, WiTricity demoed magnetic resonance technology that can transmit power wirelessly through walls, metals and even “an aquarium full of water and fish”. The company muses the tech is “not magic… it just seems that way!” More importantly, it claims using magnetic fields to transfer energy is safe for operating around people and animals. Plus you can throw in a few “Resonant Repeaters” to cover a larger distance.

Another interesting wireless charging tech is from Ossia. The tech blog, Gizmodo, gushed that an iPhone charging in midair was the “coolest CES demo” they have ever seen. Called the Cota transmitter technology, it uses radio frequency (RF) to charge devices at a distance of upto 10 feet — a beacon inside the receiver talks to thousands of tiny antennas inside a base station, and pulls in power in a precise direction. Ossia promises the tech will be in your hands later in 2016.

Cota wirelessly rechargeable batteriesAnd if device manufacturers come onboard, it will even come baked into phones, eliminating the need for a separate case. Meanwhile, future versions promise to extend the range and offer the tantalising prospect of being able to charge multiple gadgets anywhere in the house, wirelessly. Incidentally, this tech can also be integrated into rechargeable batteries — imagine never having to replace the batteries inside your TV remote, as they are continuously recharged, over the air.

Also leveraging radio waves is WattUp from Energous, which claims to be a “groundbreaking technology that will fundamentally change the way you think about charging your portable electronic devices”. It is targeted at wearable devices, and the power transmitter is the size of a USB flash drive.

Meanwhile, wireless charging is making its way into cars, too. Nissan will show off a new wireless charging system at the Geneva Motor Show in March, and IHS expects automotive OEMs to start launching wireless charging enabled electric vehicles by the end of 2016. And as the analytic agency concludes, “Clearly 2016 is set to be a great year for wireless charging technology designers and electronics manufacturers alike.”