Truly wireless charging — completely through the air, without cables — has been just on the edge of availability for years, but it finally looks set to actually appear in products soon. Billing itself as “the long-range wireless charging company,” Wi-Charge is debuting an infrared power technology that promises to deliver up to three watts of energy at distances up to 10 meters. That’s enough to wirelessly power and recharge a variety of common devices, some of which will be coming to market with Wi-Charge technology inside.
One of Wi-Charge’s early partnerships is with Monolicht, a Swiss lighting company. Monolicht is integrating Wi-Charge transmitters into its lighting panels, enabling the panels to deliver both light and power within rooms. Working together, the companies expect that light fixtures will be able to power security cameras permanently mounted in rooms, as well as mobile phones that come in and out of the same areas.
A separate partnership with ZKTeco USA illustrates how adding a Wi-Charge receiver to a device can elevate a formerly battery-powered smart home accessory — in this case, a smart lock. Since they’re generally not hardwired into homes, accessories such as biometric smart locks have previously required frequent battery replacements, potentially interrupting their ability to offer access or protection. By shifting to a wireless power source, ZKTeco’s high-end multi-biometric door lock can maintain functionality continuously, drawing energy from a transmitter located up to 33 feet away.
“Long-range wireless power has the potential to drastically change how consumers and businesses use and interact with smart devices,” said Wi-Charge CEO Victor Vaisleib, “a change comparable to that brought upon by cellular and Wi-Fi technologies.”
While competing wireless charging solutions have received FCC approval, notably including Energous’ WattUp systems, many work at only short distances. For example, Qi chargers require physical contact, and WattUp’s short and midrange systems work at distances of 10 centimeters to 3 feet. Longer-distance solutions, including a “Far Field” WattUp that will work from across the room, are in the works.
Wi-Charge will be demonstrating its system at its Mobile World Congress Americas booth at the Los Angeles Convention Center from September 12 to 14, including examples of how modern smartphones and upcoming internet of things sensors can charge wirelessly. The company is seeking additional partners to get Wi-Charge devices into the marketplace.