3 companies race to charge smartphones without wires
The consumer tech marketplace offers a range of pad-based charging
systems that require contact between smartphone and charging mechanism.
The dream, however, is to create a wireless in-room network, much like
Wi-Fi, that instantly charges devices when you’re in range.
A San Jose-based company called Energous is busy creating WattUp, a
wire-free charging system that can power gadgets up to 15 feet away
using a combination of RF (radio frequency), Bluetooth and other
imperceptible tech. The company is aiming to have WattUp embedded in
devices ranging from smartphones to toys as early as next year.
Arriving even sooner is the XE from TechNovator, a company out of Poland
and Ukraine. The XE is a tower that communicates via electromagnetic
resonance with a smartphone case that then safely translates those
energy waves into electricity. TechNovator plans to launch with a
Kickstarter campaign in November focusing on iPhone 6 and 6 Plus cases.
But while the XE tower is impossible to ignore, uBeam is aiming for a
base station that is all but invisible and takes the form of a
wafer-thin ceiling tile. And while initially uBeam may use smartphone
covers to transfer power, eventually one option could be to embed small
chips directly into handsets, according to uBeam founder Meredith Perry,
The Santa Monica-based start-up has raised $23.2 million from the likes
of Mark Cuban, Marissa Mayer and super-agent Ari Emanuel. While still
very secretive about her tech, Perry is doggedly focused on a vision for
wireless charging that aims to do away with power cords.
Perry is one of four guests at USA TODAY’s Change Agents Live event
Sept. 29 in San Francisco.