May 29, 2014 – Imagine never having to connect your smartphone by wire to a plug outlet to recharge it. It’s no longer something to imagine with companies like WiTricity and Energous creating wireless recharging technologies that work simply by placing a device within proximity to the power source.
In the case of WiTricity the technology uses resonant magnetic induction to transfer power over a distance. In the case of Energous the technology uses a router similar to the one you use in your home for WiFi. But instead of exchanging packets of data this router sends a charge over a distance.
Right now you can order a WiTricity Prodigy, a demonstration system that powers up to two devices at a time. The price is $995.00 U.S. for the Standard Version and $750.00 for the Educational Edition. WiTricity offers development toolkits including CAD tools for developers who wish to license the technology and incorporate it into their product offerings.
Energous calls its wire-free energy router WattUp. It can transmit power to two devices as far away as 4.5 meters (15 feet). Right now WattUp takes twice as long as a standard wall charger to recharge a smartphone. And the phones need to be coupled to a receiver designed to fit the form factor. Energous hopes to embed its technology in future smartphones by licensing the technology to manufacturers. I couldn’t find any pricing information to share with you. Nor could I find a date when the product would become available for licensing or as a commercial product.
But it shouldn’t be too long before we see lots of these types of technologies emerging. The days of plugging in smartphones and music players, let alone electric vehicles which in principle could use this type of technology, are certainly numbered.