FCC certifies first 'at a distance' wireless charging system


Unlike most of today's wireless chargers, the WattUp Mid Field can charge multiple devices at once, so long as they are within three feet of the transmitter. At last check, Energous shares soared 75% to $15.50 after hours.

Energous says this is the first FCC certification of "power-at-a-distance wireless charging under Part 18 of the FCC's rules". This would be a significant improvement over the wireless smartphone chargers now available, which require that the handset is in direct contact with the unit - typically a circular pad - making them only slightly more convenient than a wired charger.

Talking of its technology, Energous stated that the transmitter converts the electricity in radio frequencies, and then directs the energy to the surrounding devices, which are fitted with a corresponding receiver.

Wireless charging is old hat. FCC approval, recently granted to startup Energous, marks an important milestone on the path toward getting this tech in a phone you actually use. WattUp will be on display at CES 2018 in Las Vegas in January. We aren't talking about having to sit your smartphone or other device down on a pad to charge them without having to fiddle with wires; that has been available for many years now. According to the company, its wireless charges can charge the surrounding devices up to three feet away.

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If you remember, an MIT-based startup called Pi created a similar contactless wireless charging device.

Credit: EnergousEnergous is the latest charging-at-a-distance company to throw its hat in the ring, but it has a significant leg up over its competitors: It's just become the first-ever technology of its kind to get FCC approval. It can charge automatically or as needed by multiple devices.

"WattUp from Energous represents an incredibly positive lifestyle change", said Martin Cooper, Energous Board of Directors member and "Father of the Cell Phone" - a pioneer and visionary of the wireless industry. That charge will continue until the device is out of range of the transmitter or the better has been filled.

Unlike iPhone users, our readers would not be excited by the presence of Qi chargers in phones, given that we have been using them since 2014. That means a WhattUp-enabled device would be compatible with a transmitter made by some other manufacturer.