“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C. Clark
16 years ago, while experimenting with means of sending signals between two points, I made a discovery. Instead of thinking of the transmitter and receiver as a single function devices (senders send and receivers receive), having both sides capable of sending and receiving created far more functionality: practical wireless power. We call the technology based on this discovery “Cota”.
I am not talking about placing your phone on a “wireless charging” pad. I am talking about walking around the house with your phone charging in your pocket. A ‘WiFi’ like experience of wireless power. Almost magic!
So, how does Cota work to provide this experience?
At the most basic level, the system has two components, a Receiver and Transmitter (like WiFi).
Here is what makes the magic happen:
The Receiver device transmits a short low power beacon signal into the environment (about 1% of the strength of a Bluetooth signal), and the transmitter receives (or more like senses) this beacon signal which is arriving to the Transmitter through multiple paths: line-of-sight, or reflected off the environment’s walls, ceiling, furniture and other “clutter”. The Transmitter gets an image of every available path between the Transmitter and the Receiver device. Humans, dogs, plants etc in the room would never be exposed to power sent as they would be blocking the Receiver beacon and the Transmitter would not send power back in that direction.
The next step is when the Transmitter sends its signal through every path it detected by the beacon signal. Thus, delivering power only to the Receiver. While at the same time, delivering power without the line-of-sight requirement. Now that's Real Wireless Power.
Now repeat this process 100 times per second. This allows for the tracking of moving devices in changing environments. Alternate between different devices and you can now power multiple devices at the same time. (Now you see the secret sauce, I hope the magic is gone and it’s just technology)!
Walking around my house, I can count over 40 devices that can be powered wirelessly. From remote controls, smoke detectors, phones, tablets, clocks, electric toothbrushes, toys and gaming controllers, among many more. Now imagine how we would live if Cota™ was available to all these devices – I would bet that we would have far more devices since powering them would not be a challenge. Door knobs with fingerprint readers, mugs that stay hot or even temperature controlled water faucets.
But Cota™ is far more than power in motion. In fact it challenges everything you know about wireless power. Cota is the common denominator of the Ossia ecosystem where wireless charging powers personal devices, just like the electrical outlet is to the billions of electronics that plug in today. Here’s what makes Cota special:
- It’s safe. When people, plants or organic matter stands in the path of transmitter signals, Cota re-delivers power to devices via an alternative path. The power moves around obstacles, similar to wifi, and presents no harm to people, children or pets.
- It’s smart. Cota is programmed to look for patterns in device usage and monitors devices when they leave or return so it can automatically charge any device in range without disruption. Users can monitor and control the settings of Cota through a dashboard on their smart device.
- It’s clean. Cota is a clean-charging technology designed to turn off when your devices are out of range. It keeps a low profile and is small in size, which means it can integrate into the battery itself with no requirement to design new, bigger-sized batteries.
- It works. Cota happens without you. There’s no plugging and unplugging, or remembering your charger, or finding a free wall outlet. It’s automatic.
When I took the stage at TechCrunch Disrupt in 2013, the crowd laughed when I told them “just think, this [Cota] could forever eliminate that annoying chirp from the mystery smoke detectors with a dying battery at 3 in the morning.” A few years later, we’re seeing this dream become a reality.