Rethinking the AA Battery Power Source

How Wirelessly Powered AA Battery Chargers Could Become the Stepping Stone to Real Wireless Power

The race to find a sustainable, reliable, environmentally friendly alternative to the common AA battery has been on for some time now. And with good reason. Batteries are expensive to make, difficult to recycle, are hard on the earth, and have a limited shelf life, which increases workload and decreases dependability. 

Wireless power delivered over air through radio frequency waves -- like Ossia’s Cota Real Wireless Power -- has been one promising alternative to AAs to power small devices, and there has been much activity to make that happen. But it’ll take some time for wireless power to permeate the entire ecosystem of devices and gadgets that have relied on AA batteries for decades. 

What can we do in the meantime to reduce our reliance on the AA battery? That question has been on the minds of the engineers and inventors at Ossia for many years. Making the leap from AA to wireless power may be a big one, but there simply must be a stepping stone in between. And of course, the makers of Cota are convinced that wireless power technology will be part of that steppingstone. 

Let’s look at a sister industry for clues for a solution. When inductive or Qi charging was first introduced, you’ll remember that most smartphones and wearables didn’t have Qi capability built in. Manufacturers were reluctant to build something into a device when it might not become a popular feature. Instead, inventive companies created Qi charging sleeves or cases that could be fitted onto smartphones to make them Qi compatible. 

Sure, the encased device still needed to sit on or near a charging pad that was plugged into a wall, making it not truly wireless, but for many, it was a big convenience over plugging a little cable into the phone. 

Eventually, having Qi capabilities built into small devices has become more common; it’s even an expectation for higher end devices and wearables. 

The team here at Ossia imagine something similar will happen for the AA battery. 

For example, imagine Cota Real Wireless Power as a wireless AA battery charger. This could be a modular pack connected to a device that could charge two, four, or even six AA batteries at a time, without needing to plug it in. 

The wirelessly powered battery charger could also be created as a separate, self-contained battery pack. It would have plenty of surface area to contain an antenna and receive Cota wireless power to charge AA batteries. This battery pack could be plugged into any device such as IoT, sensors, or game controllers. 

Reframing how we think of batteries and wireless power is very important to everyone who is in the business of sustainable energy, and this is just one idea, one step toward decreasing our reliance on disposable batteries.