What the Tech: Wireless charging

What if our smartphones stayed charged all the time?
What if our smart phones stayed charged all the time?
Published: Jan. 29, 2023 at 7:13 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - One of the more frustrating parts of the day is when our smartphone battery dies. We have to plug it in again and wait for it to recharge. But what if we no longer needed to do that? What if our smartphones stayed charged all the time?

It sounds far-fetched, but that day is closer than we might think.

Newer smartphones and other small devices have wireless charging built in. Just place them on top of a charging device. What if though, you didn’t need to place them on top of a charger? Two companies I saw recently at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) say they charge a smartphone through the air.

“It’s wireless power; just like WiFi,” said Ossia. “You walk into a room in proximity to a Cota transmitter and your devices will be powered.”

I first saw Ossia six years ago at CES, with wireless charging devices built into ceiling tiles. This year, they were showing transmitters that sit anywhere in your house and that can charge phones and batteries in just about everything.

“You have security cameras, motion sensors, temperature sensors, or that pesky AA battery that chirps at you in the middle of the night,” said Ossia. “You put the Cota circuitry in that battery in your smoke detector it will never chirp at you again.”

PowerCast is another company that developed a $5 chip that can be embedded in devices.

“We have our transmitter devices here,” said PowerCast. “They’re putting RF energy into the air and converting it efficiently into DC power that can be used to recharge batteries.”

PowerCast hopes to work with device manufacturers to include the chip in future products. So how close are we to seeing totally wireless charging in our homes?

“I think you’re going to start finding these in homes at the end of this year and early next year,” says Ossia. “We are shipping a security camera bundle. You’ll get a Cota transmitter and you just take that camera and stick it up on the wall. There will be no wires. It’ll be constantly powered.”

You’re probably wondering: Is it safe having RF waves in the air? Both companies say it’s perfectly safe and they’re FCC certified.

The RF charging technology can be used in airports, retail stores, offices, schools, and even automobiles, to provide continuous wireless charging - no matter where you go.

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