CES Gives Us Wireless AA Batteries That Never Run Out of Juice

Originally posted by Daniel Starkey on Geek.com

Battery side by side.jpgAlmost a century ago, the internet’s favorite super-genius, Nikola Tesla, was obsessed with wireless power transmission. He believed that power was essentially a right, and he wanted to deliver it to the world free of charge. While quite a few have since passed that idea as one of his more… unhinged, others have taken it as a challenge, working to fulfill the inventors’ promise of readily available electricity wherever you go.

That’s the goal of Ossia, a company that’s effectively trying to create a new system for in-home, wireless charging. This isn’t like the Qi chargers or whatever else you’ve used in the past, though. Ossia’s systems will let you charge your devices anywhere within range of their base station. 

That could lead to AA batteries that never need to be recharged, or iPhone’s that are pretty much always road-trip ready. The actual mechanism behind the tech is pretty complicated, but it’s also easy enough to shrink down that the company has made standard battery-sized versions. Phones require a special case for now, but could one day see the tech as a default inclusion — but that’s likely a ways off.

Instead, the company is looking to drive early adoption with their specialized “Forever Battery.” With it, you wouldn’t need to worry about your Xbox controllers or TV remotes running out of juice. Even better, the batteries themselves are able to be at least partially controlled via cloud systems accessed via an app.

The whole system uses a remarkably complicated, yet elegant solution. Obviously, it wouldn’t do to just vomit power through the air — which is basically what Tesla tried to do way back when. Not only is it inefficient, depending upon how that’s implemented, it’s not even necessarily safe.

Instead, equipped devices will fire off a signal to the base station about 100 times every second. That base station uses an array of tiny antennas to calculate the exact location of the device it needs to route power to. It’s smart enough to account for walls and objects in the room, too. Once it’s discerned the exact spot your device is, it can shoot powerful RF signals back in reverse, which are picked up by the device’s receiver and translated into power that you can then use. While earlier versions required direct line-of-sight, Ossia’s latest version can transmit power a short distance around any number of obstacles.

In time, the company hopes that its all-in-one chip can be shrunk down enough to slot into already crammed smartphones, but until now, we can at least have smart batteries that never die.

Unfortunately, there’s no word on pricing or availability just yet, but keep an eye out in the coming months.