Energous WattUp mid-range power transmitter granted approval by FCC

Posted:
in iPhone edited December 2017
Wireless charging technology company Energous announced that it has received Federal Communications Commission certification of the WattUp Mid Field transmitter, which when perfected will deliver RF-based power to compatible devices at a distance of three feet.




The company notes that the latest demonstrated version of the technology isn't brand-specific, and can deliver power with a device in contact with the charger, or to devices a maximum of three feet away.

WattUp technology has three range bands, contact or short, the now approved three-foot mid-range, and 15-foot long-range which remains not approved. At present it is unclear exactly how practical a three-foot transmission range will be other than on a user's desk for compatible phones, laptops, and input devices.

The FCC approval is the first of its kind to use a new category of FCC rules allowing for higher power delivery at range.





However, FCC approval doesn't mean that the device is shipping in any form -- and the company has had a few missteps along the way.

During the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show, Energous CEO Steve Rizzone said that the company had signed a deal with "one of the largest consumer electronics companies in the world."

"I cannot tell you who it is," Energous Rizzone said. "But, I can virtually guarantee that you have products from this company on your person, sitting on your desk, or at home."

In December 2016, Energous inked a deal to develop and market hardware components through longtime Apple chip supplier Dialog Semiconductor, suggesting a future iPhone might support similar technology.

Apple is Dialog's biggest consumer electronics contract, and is believed to account for more than 70 percent of the firm's revenues. Further, Energous in a recent quarterly conference call said "most, if not all, of Energous' early adopters are existing Dialog customers."

Under the deal's terms, Dialog is investing $10 million in Energous to become the firm's exclusive component supplier. For Energous, the partnership grants access to Dialog's sales and distribution channels

Energous and Dialog launched the DA4100 RF-Transmit integrated circuit integrated in the WattUp platform in February, and promised to ship by the end of the year.

The WattUp platform uses small antennas to transfer power, instead of relying on a system of inductive charging coils. This change in transmission technology greatly increases the distance devices can be from the power transmitter, allowing users to place the charging smartphones and tablets a few feet away, rather than placing them on a special mat or using a specific magnetic connector, as used by existing systems.

Energous itself has previously cranked up the rumor mill without delivering, however. In March 2015, the company revealed a development and licensing agreement with a "tier one" consumer electronics company, and name-checked Apple in a regulatory filing. Nothing materialized from either the licensing agreement, or the regulatory filing.

The company claimed at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show that it would be shipping before the end of that year, as well.

Energous will be demonstrating the WattUp technology at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, between Jan 9. and Jan. 12.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    Wonder if it will be safe to be near. Too much RF radiation is bad for the body.
    tobian
  • Reply 2 of 31
    jdwjdw Posts: 643member
    Power carried by microwaves?  I recall one of my engineering professors back in the day (1990?) talk of power transfer from space using such tech.  A satellite generating the power would beam it back to earth.  The main caveat is that if the satellite moved even a tiny bit during the transfer, you'd spray all that power/radiation across wide swaths of terrain.  Any follow-up article on this should focus on how safe it is.
    bonobobtobian
  • Reply 3 of 31
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,608administrator
    jdw said:
    Power carried by microwaves?  I recall one of my engineering professors back in the day (1990?) talk of power transfer from space using such tech.  A satellite generating the power would beam it back to earth.  The main caveat is that if the satellite moved even a tiny bit during the transfer, you'd spray all that power/radiation across wide swaths of terrain.  Any follow-up article on this should focus on how safe it is.
    Not microwaves, no. Just straight low-power, non-ionizing RF.

    The FCC approval used for it can't be used for microwave transmitters.
    edited December 2017 Rayz2016cornchip
  • Reply 4 of 31
    Article says 3ft. Product video says 15ft. Very amazing tech though! 
  • Reply 5 of 31
    macseeker said:
    Wonder if it will be safe to be near. Too much RF radiation is bad for the body.
    The visible light off a candle is probably more dangerous. To ionize an atom a photon (light quanta) has to have enough energy to knock an electron out of its orbit. The energy of a photon scales with frequency (E=h*f where h is Planck’s constant). The frequency of a visible photon is on the order of 10^14 Hz. I don’t know what the frequency of the RF this product uses but if it is about the same as a WiFi signal that would be about 10^9 Hz range. That means a visible light photon has about 100,000 times the energy of a GHz RF photon. I personally have never heard of a visible light photon having enough energy to ionize an atom. That occurs when you get in the x-ray regime of 10^16 Hz.

    Also you can’t ionize an electron that requires a 10^16 Hz photon with 10,000,000 RF frequency photons even though added all together they would have the same energy as the one x-ray photon by itself. That is prohibited by Einstein’s photoelectric effect for which he won the Nobel prize in physics for.
    GG1cecil444steveaubadmonkdysamoriacornchippatchythepiratestanthemanjony0
  • Reply 6 of 31
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,608administrator
    Article says 3ft. Product video says 15ft. Very amazing tech though! 
    The video is the technology in general -- they're hoping for a 15-foot range when all is said and done.

    The approval is the 3-foot mid-field version.
    Rayz2016mwhiteerokthemicrightcornchipjony0
  • Reply 7 of 31
    I would think one of the main issues with a product like this is that it would just waste quite a bit of energy. It seems like it sends the EM radiation in a omnidirectional manner as a typical light bulb does. Only the EM flux that passes through the cross section of the collector (which I assume is a coil) provides useful power. The rest will just scatter and be absorbed by the surroundings.
    cecil444bonobobdysamoriatobiancharlesatlascornchipjony0
  • Reply 8 of 31
    GG1GG1 Posts: 201member
    I would think one of the main issues with a product like this is that it would just waste quite a bit of energy. It seems like it sends the EM radiation in a omnidirectional manner as a typical light bulb does. Only the EM flux that passes through the cross section of the collector (which I assume is a coil) provides useful power. The rest will just scatter and be absorbed by the surroundings.
    It looks like their charging scheme is a lot better (more efficient) than a "space heater" radiator.

    Their product page (http://http//www.energous.com/technology/receivers/) says this:

    "WattUp® uses pocket-forming technology to accurately direct energy to the receiver. The technology dynamically adjusts the shape and content of the RF waves so they can be directed to a specific location in 3D space. (my emphasis) There, the energy is gathered by the receiver’s special antennas where WattUp® ASICs convert the RF signal to DC current, delivering a charge to the battery."

    To me, this implies some sort of steerable (transmit) antenna, although "pocket-forming" means nothing to me. Their software technology page touts a highly configurable system of charging multiple devices at different power levels (and 3D locations), so there must be some micro-location method (beacons?) to tell the transmitter the device's exact 3D location. Of course, I could be reading too much into this.

    I couldn't find what happens if you move the device during charging. Will it stop charging? Will the system redirect the charging signal dynamically as the device is moved?
    stanthemanpatchythepiratejony0
  • Reply 9 of 31
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,766member
    GG1 said:
    I would think one of the main issues with a product like this is that it would just waste quite a bit of energy. It seems like it sends the EM radiation in a omnidirectional manner as a typical light bulb does. Only the EM flux that passes through the cross section of the collector (which I assume is a coil) provides useful power. The rest will just scatter and be absorbed by the surroundings.
    It looks like their charging scheme is a lot better (more efficient) than a "space heater" radiator.

    Their product page (http://http//www.energous.com/technology/receivers/) says this:

    "WattUp® uses pocket-forming technology to accurately direct energy to the receiver. The technology dynamically adjusts the shape and content of the RF waves so they can be directed to a specific location in 3D space. (my emphasis) There, the energy is gathered by the receiver’s special antennas where WattUp® ASICs convert the RF signal to DC current, delivering a charge to the battery."

    To me, this implies some sort of steerable (transmit) antenna, although "pocket-forming" means nothing to me. Their software technology page touts a highly configurable system of charging multiple devices at different power levels (and 3D locations), so there must be some micro-location method (beacons?) to tell the transmitter the device's exact 3D location. Of course, I could be reading too much into this.

    I couldn't find what happens if you move the device during charging. Will it stop charging? Will the system redirect the charging signal dynamically as the device is moved?
    You can form "pockets" in your field by simple interference pattern I guess if you have more than one transmitter, the more you have, the more you can tune your field, diminishing power in one transmitter, boosting another, beam forming, etc. This would require for sure that transmitter to know the position of the receiver.
    jony0
  • Reply 10 of 31
    GG1GG1 Posts: 201member
    foggyhill said:
    GG1 said:
    I would think one of the main issues with a product like this is that it would just waste quite a bit of energy. It seems like it sends the EM radiation in a omnidirectional manner as a typical light bulb does. Only the EM flux that passes through the cross section of the collector (which I assume is a coil) provides useful power. The rest will just scatter and be absorbed by the surroundings.
    It looks like their charging scheme is a lot better (more efficient) than a "space heater" radiator.

    Their product page (http://http//www.energous.com/technology/receivers/) says this:

    "WattUp® uses pocket-forming technology to accurately direct energy to the receiver. The technology dynamically adjusts the shape and content of the RF waves so they can be directed to a specific location in 3D space. (my emphasis) There, the energy is gathered by the receiver’s special antennas where WattUp® ASICs convert the RF signal to DC current, delivering a charge to the battery."

    To me, this implies some sort of steerable (transmit) antenna, although "pocket-forming" means nothing to me. Their software technology page touts a highly configurable system of charging multiple devices at different power levels (and 3D locations), so there must be some micro-location method (beacons?) to tell the transmitter the device's exact 3D location. Of course, I could be reading too much into this.

    I couldn't find what happens if you move the device during charging. Will it stop charging? Will the system redirect the charging signal dynamically as the device is moved?
    You can form "pockets" in your field by simple interference pattern I guess if you have more than one transmitter, the more you have, the more you can tune your field, diminishing power in one transmitter, boosting another, beam forming, etc. This would require for sure that transmitter to know the position of the receiver.
    That makes sense --> pockets = interference pattern. Sure enough, their transmitters page (http://www.energous.com/technology/transmitters/) mentions "This design enables maximum coverage and allows meshed-network coverage where multiple transmitters are linked together to cover larger spaces." (this is for the far-field version only for distances of 15 ft/5 m)

    Edit: their FAQ page states that the 5.8 GHz WiFi band is used for energy transmission, and Bluetooth (specifically BTLE) is used for control. I don't see where 3D location info is created. I don't think BTLE has any location information.
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 11 of 31
    Maybe Apple is working with them.
    They seem to be moving quite fast.
  • Reply 12 of 31
    I'm sticking with my 29 watt USB-C Power Adapter using a USB-C to Lightning cable for my iPhone X. Talk about fast charging!
    edited December 2017 cornchipSpamSandwich
  • Reply 13 of 31
    I don't care if they burn the device in your pockets, this is the first wireless that is quite usable !! Apple: cancel that muzzy AirPower project that never took off, come out of your commodity cochlea and buy/implement this ! It will take courage - but yes, you can !!
    edited December 2017 cornchip
  • Reply 14 of 31
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,351member
    Article says 3ft. Product video says 15ft. Very amazing tech though! 
    The video is the technology in general -- they're hoping for a 15-foot range when all is said and done.

    The approval is the 3-foot mid-field version.
    Mmm.  Maybe three feet is enough for small device use:
    Charge the phone from the laptop/desktop machine
    Charge the Pencil from the iPad


  • Reply 15 of 31
    macseeker said:
    Wonder if it will be safe to be near. Too much RF radiation is bad for the body.
    You better build yourself a faraday cage to live in to block all the RF you're being hit with every day. There is so much RF around you from so many sources you'll never know which one killed you.
    dysamoriacornchipjony0
  • Reply 16 of 31
    This is a little late, but still good!
    Tesla, the father of our modern electrical system, designed this wireless electrical transmission over 100 years ago.
  • Reply 17 of 31
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,351member
    This is a little late, but still good!
    Tesla, the father of our modern electrical system, designed this wireless electrical transmission over 100 years ago.
    I imagine there were kinks to work out. 
    cornchipjony0
  • Reply 18 of 31
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,322member
    Hey guys, before you get too excited note that Dialog will be the exclusive licensee and marketeer of Energous tech. In fact everything is moved or moving into Dialog facilities.
    "We're actually transferring all of our silicon operations to Dialog," Energous CEO Steve Rizzone said .... "All the Energous technology will be sold under the Dialog branding and all sales orders will be going through Dialog. It'll take us about 90 days to do all that."

    Why is that important? Dialog confirms that Apple is developing their own power chips to replace Dialog's, doing so as early as 2019. Pretty sure it was discussed here a few weeks ago. 

    http://appleinsider.com/articles/17/12/04/dialog-semi-admits-apple-designed-power-chips-could-come-in-the-next-few-years
    edited December 2017 dysamoriacornchip
  • Reply 19 of 31
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,378member
    jdw said:
    Power carried by microwaves?  I recall one of my engineering professors back in the day (1990?) talk of power transfer from space using such tech.  A satellite generating the power would beam it back to earth.  The main caveat is that if the satellite moved even a tiny bit during the transfer, you'd spray all that power/radiation across wide swaths of terrain.  Any follow-up article on this should focus on how safe it is.
    Not microwaves, no. Just straight low-power, non-ionizing RF.

    The FCC approval used for it can't be used for microwave transmitters.
    Has there been any testing that the IR used by the FaceID sensors/blaster safe?   How do we know there are no harmful side-effects years down the road after using this on camera after camera?
  • Reply 20 of 31
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,481member
    The ceo needs to stop suggesting that Apple is signed on to use his tech. He had everyone think the iPhone X was using it. 
    edited December 2017 cornchip
Sign In or Register to comment.