We live in a wireless world. Or do we?
Our phones are, indeed, wireless…until they need to be charged. Same goes for portable Bluetooth speakers and “true wireless” earbuds. The audio signal arrives through the air but you still have to find an AC outlet when it’s time to refresh the battery. And when it comes to non-portable wireless speakers for music and home theater (think Sonos, or even WiSA-compatible speakers), they need to be tethered to a wall outlet, which means you can’t just put them anywhere.
In what could be a game changer for power distribution, a company out of Redmond, Washington named Ossia just announced a first-of-its-kind adaptor that can be used to deliver power wirelessly to any USB-powered device, including Bluetooth speakers, tablets, game controllers, and all kinds of smart-home “IoT” devices that require low-power charging.
Plug the Cota Universal Adapter into the device’s USB-C port and it receives power over the air from the Cota Hub — no modifications required. The system is based on a patented, FCC-approved technology called Cota Real Wireless Power that transmits power over a distance of up to 30 feet.
Like Wi-Fi, the wireless connection does not require a line of sight between the adapter and hub, and the transmission process is described as automatic, immediate, and safe — that is, powering devices continuously over the same frequency band used for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth while “avoiding you and all other obstructing objects.” The connection is robust, remaining intact even while devices are in motion.
The Cota system is also intuitive, deciding what needs more power and when and then charging those devices to full capacity. It’s also clean: Unlike conventional wall chargers that draw power constantly, the system delivers power only when devices need it.
The Cota adapter is compact at just over 3 inches long and the hub, which resembles a small smart speaker, automatically connects with the adapter when it comes into range.
The company behind Cota started out as Omnilectric in 2008 when Hatem Zeine set out to develop an alternative passage or “ossia” for power — a new way to distribute power that eschews wires — which ultimately led to Cota Real Wireless Power. And as a backgrounder on the Ossia website explains, the technology is environmentally forward looking: “While we envision a future without wires or ‘charging time,’ our mission isn’t just about providing power, it’s also about sustainability. The environmental, societal, and economic impact of batteries could be offset significantly by Cota-enabled devices.”
Ossia has amassed more than 180 U.S. and international patents and the Cota technology has received regulatory approval in more than 45 countries.
"This is a huge stepping-stone for organizations to explore wireless power, but perhaps don't have the resources or stakeholder backing yet to integrate a Cota receiver into their devices," Zeine explained. "Because the Cota Universal Adapter can be used interchangeably with any USB device, organizations can test multiple use cases in a day… in an hour. No technical expertise or complicated instructions needed."
The Cota wireless power system will be demonstrated at CES 2024 in January and is slated to ship in early 2024; pricing was not announced but Ossia is accepting pre-orders. For more information on Cota system and how it works, visit ossia.com.