A startup Tuesday unveiled technology it claims can can simultaneously charge multiple different devices in a house, even through walls and around corners, by using the same radio spectrum as other wireless standards, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
"You don't have to put that device in every room. You just put it into one room in your house and it will power all your devices," said Hatem Zeine, founder of Ossia, developer of the technology. "It's like your Wi-Fi signal. If you can get a Wi-Fi signal, you'll be able to get power."
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After six years of development, Ossia today unwrapped the new Cota wireless charging technology that it says will be available to consumers and enterprises by 2015.
Zeine, demonstrated the technology with a prototype at the TechCrunch Disrupt technology conference in San Francisco this week.
In a video posted by TechCrunch, Zeine held a 2-inch by 2-inch by 1-inch cube-shaped dongle device, plugged it into an iPhone 5 via a standard charging cable and held it in the air until the device indicated it was wirelessly charging; the audience erupted in applause.
"For me, wireless means remote, automatic, effortless," Zeine told the audience.
The Cota wireless charging system includes a wireless charger and a wireless charger receiver -- either a dongle device or tech integrated into a product, such as a smartphone or battery. While it has yet to be miniaturized, Zeine said the wireless technology will eventually be small enough to fit onto the motherboard of a smart phone or even in a AAA battery.
Zeine said the wireless charging technology should appeal to enterprises, such as oil and gas companies, where removing power wires from equipment could lead to greater safety. "Imaging the impact of Cota on the medical, retail, and the hundreds of devices [that] we call the Internet of things. The possibilities are endless," he added.
The wireless charging technology can deliver 1 watt of power at a 30-foot distance. It would to span an entire home and could power multiple devices, Zeine said.
"Cota is inherently safe, as safe as your Wi-Fi hub," Zeine said. "A Cota-enabled device sends out a beacon signal that finds paths to the charger, which in turn returns the power signal through only those open paths back to the receiver, avoiding people or anything that absorbs its energy."
The Cota wireless charging does not depend on line of sight, that is, it can go through walls and around corners without interfering with other electronic equipment in its path, Zeine said.
According to Zeine, the Cota wireless charging technology was discovered by accident. While experimenting with wireless signal management, Zeine, a physicist, discovered that it's possible to focus a signal on a receiving device.
Zeine said his company currently holds four core patents issued by the U.S. patent office, as well as others issued internationally. He plans on licensing the technology to equipment makers. He said Ossia is already discussing the technology with some companies.
The Cota consumer transmitter would sell for around the same price as a Wi-Fi hub, "basically $100 or a little more", Zeine said.