Powercast has announced recently this week that it has managed to get approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for its PowerSpot, a transmitter that the company claims is the first ever over the air radio frequency (RF) based charger for consumer use. According to its official press release, Powercast is looking to formally introduce PowerSpot during the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show to be held in the city of Las Vegas in Nevada less than a couple of weeks from now.
The PowerSpot transmitter is capable of facilitating over the air charging to electronic gadgets placed two or more feet away. As revealed by Powercast, the transmitter can even deliver charging as far as 20 meters. Which devices exactly can be charged by the PowerSpot? Well, these include wearable devices, keyboards, remote controls, home automation sensors, and other low power gizmos.
But wait -- what about mobile devices? Suffice it to say that it is just not that simple. Powercast’s tech works by having a transmitter (like the PowerSpot) emit radio frequency energy via the 915 MegaHertz ISM (industrial, scientific, and medical) band, to a receiver that must be embedded inside the gadget to be charged. Basically what that receiver does is transform the received energy into an electric current that charges the gadget’s battery or serves as the gadget’s power source. It goes without saying that Powercast has no problem with the transmitting end. Gadget manufacturers, including phone makers, however, need to start having supported receivers built into their products.
Still, there is no denying that the PowerSpot is a step in the right direction. Powercast has claimed that the transmitter can charge as many as a couple of dozen devices overnight (with charging times varying according to distance and power requirements of the device). The closer a device is to the transmitter, the better the charging results.
In a related note, the US Patent and Trademark Office has recently published two patent applications from Apple. Filed more than six months ago and yet to be granted approval, the applications were for wireless charging technology. Specifically, the said patents describe wireless charging methods, multiple device charging capabilities, an option for controlling which devices get charged first, and the possibility of having wireless charging tech installed within automobiles or on furniture.
As mentioned earlier, these patents are not approved yet, so it is quite possible that the technology being described will not see the light of day soon. Still, it does come as exciting news for those clamoring for a long time for a wireless way to charge their iPhone or iPad devices.
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