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Powercast Ubiquity Wireless Charger

Photography: Powercast

The dream of devices that charge wirelessly without pads or cables is advancing every year.

At CES, the AirFuel Alliance (which includes Samsung, Huawei, and a host of wireless power players among its members) announced the world’s first interoperable standard for RF wireless power transfer, called AirFuel RF. It uses radio frequency waves to transmit small amounts of energy from a few centimeters to a few meters.

You can charge devices without precise placement on a pad, charge awkwardly shaped gadgets like headphones, and simultaneously charge multiple devices within range. The catch is that we’re still talking about small amounts of power suitable for things like electronic shelf labels (so they don’t need batteries), some wearable devices, and IoT sensors.

Powercast ubiquity module

Photography: Powercast

AirFuel competitor Powercast has announced its Ubiquity RF wireless charging system, offered to manufacturers as a reference design, available for license from February or as an embeddable module and transmitter from June 2023. Powercast estimates the cost of integrating the receiver into a device at $5 and offers the Powerharvester PCC110 receiver chip and a small antenna at around $1.

What it could charge

Again, we’re talking about a trickle charge here, but it could be fine for things like TV remotes, keyboards and mice, game controllers, headphones, hearing aids, wearable devices, and smart home sensors. This type of cordless power could also come in handy for bathroom gadgets like electric toothbrushes and shavers, where there might not be an outlet.

Ossia announced the Cota Universal Base wireless charger, which can be charged over the air with a Cota Home node and power other devices. Ossia partners with Marubun and Fujitsu on ePaper RFID tags, enabling digital displays and asset tracking that require no wiring or batteries.

These are small steps forward, but as I wrote last yearremote wireless power in our homes remains, well…remote.

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