Wireless Charging Ready To Spark Mobile Revolution

Originally posted on Nanalyze

More and more people want to unplug—but we’re not talking about some Luddite notion of going off the grid and living off the land, while eating grubs and milking cats for nourishment.

In fact, the exact opposite: This is about wireless charging technology, or the idea that mobile technology should indeed be mobile. It’s time to cut the cord, and a number of companies are developing and selling technologies that promise to keep phones, tablets and laptops charged wherever we go.

(Apparently, this isn’t just about convenience, but addressing a top mental health issue. A survey by LG Electronics MobileComm last year found that nearly 90 percent of people suffered from what the company dubbed “low battery anxiety,” a sort of panic that ensues when people see their device’s battery life fall below that critical 20 percent mark. First World problems, perhaps, but when 62 percent of millennials say they stop posting selfies or using social media over lower battery life, it’s time for industry to step up.)

We talked in depth last week about Energous (NASDAQ: WATT) whose stock enjoyed a mad dash  to new highs in 2016, perhaps buoyed by persistent rumors of a partnership with Apple. The company is developing a wireless charging technology using radio frequencies, which would power mobile devices up to 15 feet away. But it’s not the only company trying to put more distance between you and your charger. We found five startups using everything from RF to sound to lasers in an attempt to get a bigger charge out of life.

A startup out of Bellevue, Washington, Ossia boasts a technology similar to Energous, which uses radio frequencies to power multiple devices up to 30 feet away. Founded in 2008, Ossia has raised nearly $25.5 million in five rounds, the most recent a $2 million Series C in January 2016. Ossia’s flagship product is called Cota. Check out PC World’s short video on how Cota works:

Calling the Cota “smart” and “clean,” Ossia claims its wireless charging technology looks for patterns in device usage, monitoring devices as they leave and return to the charging area. Cota turns on when devices are in range or hibernates when not in use. The website Inverse reported last month that the company’s partners are now “free to build wireless charging technology into their products, with all the documentations, hardware, software, and licenses provided on a contractual basis.” The kit allows developers to build a fully-functional Cota system. Smartphones that use Cota technology could be on the market at the end of 2017, Inverse noted.