Fumbling for charging cables and even charging pads could soon become a thing of the past. That is if Energous will be able to take advantage of the door that has just been opened for it. The company’s WattUp Mid Field Transmitter has just gotten the approval of the Federal Communications Commission, making it the first “power-at-a-distance” wireless charging tech to get the green light. Should actual commercial products get created from this tech, it could mean we’d be charging devices from as far as three feet away from the charger.
Why is the FCC involved in such a technology? That’s because WattUp utilizes radio frequency in order to transmit power to WattUp-enabled devices. Unlike current wireless charging solutions, WattUp doesn’t require very close, almost physical, proximity to the charger nor does it need the device to be aligned perfectly with the pad.
WattUp, however, will need specialized receivers to accept that wireless power. Considering nothing integrates that technology yet, that would mean, at least for phone, WattUp-compatible cases or dongle. The advantage, Energous says, is that the technology is manufacturer-agnostic and that a charger from one company will work with the receiver from a different company. In other words, it’s a standard of its own.
At least that’s the theory. The problem will be the actual market adoption. The FCC approval does overcome the last legal hurdle to WattUp’s adoption but that doesn’t immediately translate to actual products using it. Energous may have missed its chance with the iPhone 8, which was initially rumored to support the technology. It, instead, uses the more standard Qi wireless charging standard.