While wireless charging has been with us in consumer form since the Powermat debuted in 2009, current evolution of the technology still sees us tethered to the charging pad. There are, however, a handful of efforts seeking to liberate us from this current predicament and the WattUp appears to be one of the most likely to find success.
Made by Energous, it’s a wireless charging system that uses a mix of Bluetooth, RF signals, and some patent-pending tech to enable sending power wirelessly to devices as far as 15 feet away. That way, you just have to be within the vicinity of the charging device (which, in this case, looks and functions like a bigger WiFi router) in order to get your phones, tablets, and similar gadgets juiced.
The WattUp can work with any battery-operated device that requires less than 10 watts to charge. While that probably rules any current generation of laptops, it should be enough for mobile phones, tablets, and other mobile gadgets. It uses a transmitter called the Power Router, which sends the energy via RF signal to a WattUp receiver pre-installed in the device, which then converts the signal into battery power. Up to 12 receivers can be managed by the Power Router simultaneously, continuously charging them even while the gadgets are in motion, provided they stay within range.
As of now, Energous is working on licensing their technology to other companies who can then integrate it into their own products. They’re releasing a reference design for both the transmitter and the receiver in around six months, which licensees can then use to pattern their own charging systems.
Energous expects WattUp to appear in consumer products as early as 2016.