The FCC Has Approved a World-First Wireless Charger

It can charge devices from a staggering three feet away.

12. 27. 17 by Dom Galeon
Energous
Image by Energous

Truly Wireless Charger

A wireless charger is not a new concept. Although unencumbered by flimsy wiring, these chargers do need to be physically in contact with mobile devices to work, and usually that’s through a charging plate.

But what if you could charge your phone in a truly wireless fashion?

That’s what the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved on December 26, 2017 when they gave a power-at-a-distance wireless charging certification to a device called the WattUp Mid Field transmitter.

Developed by the San Jose-based startup Energous, WattUp uses radio frequencies to charge mobile devices at a distance of up to 91.44 cm (3 ft). Though the distance covers barely a meter, it certainly exceeds the length of your typical charging cable. The transmitter converts electricity to radio frequencies, which are then beamed into devices that have a corresponding receiver.

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The Future of Mobile Connectivity

Energous isn’t the first startup that promised to bring a true wireless charging experience, in fact some companies are even working on a similar concept for electric vehicles. Energous, however, is the first to have their technology officially approved by the FCC, which says a lot about WattUp’s potential.

“The FCC certification of Energous’ power-at-a-distance wireless charging transmitter is a major market milestone. It opens up options, outside of just contact-based charging, to Wireless Charging 2.0: an ecosystem where devices can be charged both, via pad and at a distance,” Stephen R. Rizzone, Energous president and CEO, said in a press announcement.

Not only does it offer untethered charging, but WattUp can also charge several devices — phones, tablets, keyboards, presumably even smartwatches — at the same time, provided that they’re paired with the right receiver. WattUp’s ecosystem allows it to work even if your device and the transmitter’s manufacturer aren’t the same.

“Untethered, wire-free charging — such as charging a fitness band even while wearing it — is exactly what consumers have been waiting for. We are now in a position to move our consumer electronics, [the Internet-of-Things] and smart home customers forward at an accelerated pace,” Rizzone added.

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