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Wireless Charging Start-Up Claims 30-Foot Radius

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the balance-of-power dept.

Power 242

Lucas123 writes "At Disrupt this week, Ossia Inc. demonstrated for the first time its wireless charging technology that founder Hatem Zeine said has a 30-foot radius and, like WiFi, can charge through walls and 'around corners.' The technology, still in prototype phase, uses the same spectrum as other wireless standards, such as WiFi and Bluetooth. The Cota wireless charging system includes a charger and a receiver — either a dongle device or chip-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 into a AAA battery or any portable electronic device. While the technology has wider industrial implications, as a consumer product, a charging unit will likely sell for around $100, he said."

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Holy EMF Batman? (4, Insightful)

H0p313ss (811249) | about a year ago | (#44813185)

Is it just me or does this seem like a really bad idea?

Re:Holy EMF Batman? (5, Funny)

Dzimas (547818) | about a year ago | (#44813225)

I dunno, but the fillings in my mouth are tingling.

Supercharging the cells with ions ! (-1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year ago | (#44814011)

While there are people who say WIFI is okay there are evidences of plants under WIFI frequency bombardments having retarded growth, and the WIFI power is miniscule as compared to this wireless charging scheme !

What kind of super-ionization will it do to our body cells ?

Re:Supercharging the cells with ions ! (3, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44814037)

there are evidences of plants under WIFI frequency bombardments having retarded growth

Links or it didn't happen.

Re:Supercharging the cells with ions ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44814171)

Links or it didn't happen.

'Cause the Internet never lies!

Links ! (3, Interesting)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year ago | (#44814615)

there are evidences of plants under WIFI frequency bombardments having retarded growth

Links or it didn't happen

Links, with pictures

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2013/05/can-wifi-signals-stunt-plant-growth/ [go.com]

http://www.mnn.com/health/healthy-spaces/blogs/student-science-experiment-finds-plants-wont-grow-near-wi-fi-router [mnn.com]

Now, satisfied ?

Re:Links ! (4, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year ago | (#44814727)

No, because the sun bombards us with far more of that crap than a 30mW router will.

Heres a nice summary [wikipedia.org]

Im not sure why radio isnt listed, but infrared, visible, and ultraviolet are all more energetic and "damaging" than radio waves.

The total amount of energy received at ground level from the sun at the zenith is 1004 watts per square meter, which is composed of 527 watts of infrared radiation, 445 watts of visible light, and 32 watts of ultraviolet radiation.

So a few watts of power floating around your home is probably not that much to worry about.

Also, those two links you provided are both from primary school students--not even highschoolers-- so Im gonna say its probably not on the same level as the existing evidence against WiFi causing harm.

Re:Links ! (4, Insightful)

Ferzerp (83619) | about a year ago | (#44814749)

Not really. That was an *extremely* poorly controlled experiment by grade school students. Magically, no one else has produced similar results in an actual controlled study.

If your *only* evidence is a single experiment performed by individuals with barely rudimentary training in the sciences, you might want to consider that it is your bias causing you to readily accept the outlier as opposed to the norm.

Re:Supercharging the cells with ions ! (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#44814689)

MMMmmm. Sausage links.

Do slowly frying people smell like bacon cooking?

Re:Supercharging the cells with ions ! (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year ago | (#44814681)

Wifi operates with radio waves. Do you have any idea how much radiowave, microwave, infrared, and ultraviolet radiation we are bombarded with every day? Or any idea that of those listed, none are ionizing (upper end of ultraviolet is, but is absorbed by atmosphere), and of those, only ultraviolet is more energetic than visible spectrum?

The only damage that we are aware of a cause for-- or aware of symptoms for-- is thermal damage if you were to jack the power up high enough to start cooking flesh. Absent both a known cause and any known incidents, there is zero reason to claim that wifi can cause damage.

Re:Holy EMF Batman? (2)

ronmon (95471) | about a year ago | (#44814251)

replying to negate a mis-click mod

Sorry

Re:Holy EMF Batman? (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44813313)

I think this is the best idea I've seen since I've invented the death ray! I'm all pumped up about it!

Sincerely yours, Nikola Tesla

Re:Holy EMF Batman? (4, Informative)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44813481)

I think this is the best idea I've seen since I invented it almost 100 years ago! [wikipedia.org]

Sincerely yours, Nikola Tesla

FTFY.

Re:Holy EMF Batman? (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44813491)

"Almost" == "more than"

Probably should have double checked that before hitting Post.

Re:Holy EMF Batman? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44813669)

Thank you for getting the joke.

Re:Holy EMF Batman? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44813701)

There was a joke? ... aren't jokes supposed to be funny?

Re:Holy EMF Batman? (3, Funny)

H0p313ss (811249) | about a year ago | (#44814059)

There was a joke? ... aren't jokes supposed to be funny?

Not since the advent of the internet.

Re:Holy EMF Batman? (1)

Valdrax (32670) | about a year ago | (#44814299)

There was a joke? ... aren't jokes supposed to be funny?

Ah. Your uncertainty on that point probably explains your FTFY post, then.

Re:Holy EMF Batman? (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | about a year ago | (#44813423)

All the married people in the area were complaining about a blister forming on one of their fingers.

Re:Holy EMF Batman? (5, Interesting)

M0HCN (2981905) | about a year ago | (#44813547)

Well many homes already posess a 2.4GHz ISM band field generator, a few minor modification to the door interlock any you have just saved yourself $100.....

The trouble with shrinking this sort of thing is that it moves you from a near field situation, where coupling is largely magnetic, to a far field one where coupling is electromagnetic (Yes I know they both are really electromagnetic, bear with me), and that raises interesting questions of physics, and also of local power density close to the transmitter.

Now, there is also the health physics questions which for a non ionising EM field at 2.4Ghz come down to considering thermal effects. At 2.4Ghz this largely comes down to thermal effects in the skin and other surface layers (2.4GHz is used in microwave ovens for a reason, water has an absorbtion band there), the surface layer that **REALLY** matters in this is the eye! A few watts per square metre power flux density is probably not too much of a problem, much more might be.

I smell a startup about to try for some more funding!

73 M0HCN.

Re:Holy EMF Batman? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44813955)

The patent is here [google.com] . FWIW the frequency seems to be 5.8 GHZ but havent read the rest of it (posting AC to not lose mods)

Re:Holy EMF Batman? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year ago | (#44814735)

Considering the amount of energy in sunlight, I really dont think a watt per square meter is really that big of a deal.

Re:Holy EMF Batman? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44813685)

Yay for 10% efficiency. More wasted power so that the lazy person can do away with a piece of cable.

Re:Holy EMF Batman? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44813841)

Is it just me or does this seem like a really bad idea?

A bad idea for tech journalists to not take basic science classes? Yeah, that's the kind of bad idea that gets shit like this published.

Safety? (3, Insightful)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about a year ago | (#44813223)

If you're blasting ~2.4ghz RF from one place to another, what happens when something absorptive gets in the way? If it can charge a smart phone, is it enough energy to burn you if you get in the way, or start a fire if it happens to be going through a nail in your wall?

Re:Safety? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44814063)

It's 5.8 GHz... nothing absorbs that!

Really ?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44814705)

It's 5.8 GHz... nothing absorbs that!

REALLY ??

You mean this 5.8 GHz since it's un-absorb-able, will propagate, like, forever ???

Somebody please nominate this guy for the 2014 ignoble prize award.

Re:Safety? (1)

ultranova (717540) | about a year ago | (#44814119)

If it can charge a smart phone, is it enough energy to burn you if you get in the way, or start a fire if it happens to be going through a nail in your wall?

It's impossible to say without getting numbers, which the article doesn't provide. However, I very much doubt a wall socket can supply sufficient power to cause burns fast enough that you wouldn't feel uncomfortable and move away first. A 100% efficient water heater takes everal minutes to boil a litre of water; your body is made mostly of water, so it would be almost as hard to heat; and the power beam is unlikely to have a 100% absorbtion rate.

So much for your noise floor (4, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | about a year ago | (#44813227)

How in the world are they going to push out significant amounts of power on bands with extremely strict transmission limits? It's going to take you all year to charge a AA battery from a 4000mW omnidirectional transmitter that's 10 meters away. Not to mention utterly destroying wifi and bluetooth signals for several hundred feet.

Re:So much for your noise floor (1)

jandrese (485) | about a year ago | (#44813249)

Sorry, I mean 100mW. The 4000mW figure is for point to point links, and wouldn't apply here.

Re:So much for your noise floor (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44813513)

No, you were right the first time. 1 watt into 6db antenna = 36dbm = 4 watts erp. PtP systems can go higher with a 1db drop in power for each 3db increase in antenna gain. Still tis seems screwy. Enough power to charge a Li-Ion battery at more than 10 feet distance in less than a week would be of major health concern. Like disabling the lockouts and running your microwave oven with the door open.

Re:So much for your noise floor (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#44813709)

With MIMO, you can have omniidirectional point to point links. The equipment manufacturers bend the rules as they see fit, and the FCC doesn't care.

Re:So much for your noise floor (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year ago | (#44813289)

I'm not sure how destructive it would be to other signals. Possibly not as destructive as you might think.

If it is transmitting a pure sine wave then wifi might not care since its clearly not data and isn't changing.

Re:So much for your noise floor (1, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | about a year ago | (#44813357)

It's still noise to the wifi card unless it is specifically built to filter out that extra carrier somehow. Theoretically it is possible, but no consumer card is going to support it today. It's kind of like talking to someone and then having a guy with an air horn 10 feet away start blowing it constantly. With proper processing you could pick the conversation back out of the noise, but it's not something your average person is going to be able to do.

Re:So much for your noise floor (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | about a year ago | (#44813385)

your 2W carrier that has no data and my 100mW carrier that has important data can still interfere with each other.

scary (4, Insightful)

dmitrygr (736758) | about a year ago | (#44813233)

without beamforming - inverse square law says no
with beamforming, one must remember that beamforming cannot focus in just one place, smaller but still constructive maxima will exist elsewhere. what wants 1/3 of a watt focused on their gonads accidentally?

Re:scary (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#44813255)

"Who wants 1/3 of a watt focused on their gonads accidentally?" What about intentionally?

Re:scary (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44813529)

Anthony D. Weiner [wikipedia.org]

No, seriously, his middle initial really is D!

Re:scary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44814275)

I like electroplay, it's thrilling. o.o;

Wifi allergics are going to freak out (3, Funny)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#44813235)

The tinfoil hat crowd is going to go ballistic when this technology becomes ubiquitous. I can't wait. I'm already thinking of witty one-liners.

Re:Wifi allergics are going to freak out (5, Funny)

WillgasM (1646719) | about a year ago | (#44813465)

To be fair, their headgear might actually exacerbate the issue.

Re:Wifi allergics are going to freak out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44813473)

Yeah, I guess their heads will be oven-baked. That'll teach the crazy freaks!

Very Bad (1)

chinton (151403) | about a year ago | (#44813247)

I seem to recall the M5 using wireless charging over distance with disastrous results...

Re:Very Bad (3, Funny)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#44813739)

Let's just say I wouldn't wear a red shirt around this thing...

Potential Snake Oil (5, Informative)

The RoboNerd (551256) | about a year ago | (#44813285)

He attached a cube to an iphone, held it in the air, and it started charging. We have to go by faith that there are no batteries in the cube. Sorry but this sounds like snake oil.

Re:Potential Snake Oil (1)

Nevo (690791) | about a year ago | (#44813341)

Came here to say this. Color me skeptical.

Re:Potential Snake Oil (2)

dainichi (1181931) | about a year ago | (#44814349)

Remember, the key to a good perpetual motion machine is figuring out where/how to hide the batteries.

Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44813307)

There's no way to pump enough energy into an EM field so that it can:

1. Charge another electronic device
2. Be limited to 30' in non-interfering range

Re:Bullshit (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about a year ago | (#44814239)

Transformers do #1 all the time in effect. #2, while theoretically possible it would be one hell of an air-core transformer and it would not be safe to be that close to it.. Tesla anyone?

Fishing for capital (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44813347)

This is typical of startups that wish to acquire a big injection of capital to keep going. They are entirely vapourware and none of their technology claims stand up to even the most basic scrutiny.

Normally I would suggest that the government regulate the liars that operate these kinds of startups. But it's mostly just rich people getting ripped off, so I don't care so much.

Nikola Tesla did wireless power long time ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44813397)

Can't remember the science behind it, saw it on an A&E biography show about this life long time ago.

Re:Nikola Tesla did wireless power long time ago (1)

WillgasM (1646719) | about a year ago | (#44813533)

Yes, that was before we had all these electronic devices that tend to fry when exposed to such a field.

I say "nay" (2)

WillgasM (1646719) | about a year ago | (#44813401)

"It's like your Wi-Fi signal. If you can get a Wi-Fi signal, you'll be able to get power."

Yes, but now we can't get Wi-Fi signal.
Also, how often is the "beacon" signal refreshed? Do I need to stand perfectly still while my device is recharging? Why is my skin peeling?

Re:I say "nay" (1)

mfwitten (1906728) | about a year ago | (#44814351)

* "It's like your WiFi signal" does not mean "It takes the place of your WiFi signal". It's called an analogy.

* That question is asked and answered in (at least) the video: The final receiver will be tracked continuously in the final product; the current behavior is mainly for demonstration purposes only.

* Next time, do a little a research and thinking before spouting off from the unproductive comfort of your armchair.

Lovem or Hatem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44813447)

This man has what the people wants.

Re:Lovem or Hatem (1)

e_armadillo (14304) | about a year ago | (#44813625)

What is that "sizzle"? cuz there ain't no "steak".

Honey! I'm home from the hospital... (1)

KrazyDave (2559307) | about a year ago | (#44813487)

...and with my new pacemaker, I feel like a new.. AAaaaargh....ZzRK***POP***sizzle***pop*** NGGGGGGGGGGah....

No thanks, I will just use the neighbors (1)

RichMan (8097) | about a year ago | (#44813499)

So how do you stop leakage and vampires?

You can't really encrypt a power signal.

Re:No thanks, I will just use the neighbors (1)

RichMan (8097) | about a year ago | (#44813621)

I take back the "you can't really encrypt a power signal". They are doing synthetic beam forming using spatial location as the coding to separate devices. The command and control channel will help the sender configure to location of the device to be charged.

Getting it to sum to 1W at only the selected location is not something they can guarantee without accurately mapping out the space. And doing it dynamically if there are people moving is something else.

Lots of trickey math and I doubt they can avoid a good bit of leakage.

Re:No thanks, I will just use the neighbors (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44813825)

Getting it to sum to 1W at only the selected location is not something they can guarantee without accurately mapping out the space. And doing it dynamically if there are people moving is something else. Lots of trickey math and I doubt they can avoid a good bit of leakage.

Ah, but the trick is to not do any math. You have the charging device send out a quick RF beep. The charger looks at the phase and amplitude of that signal on every antenna element and uses that to for the returned energy beam. You do that often to deal with things moving. It's how MIMO works. Still, you need an insane number of actively controlled elements to make this efficient and focused.

No. (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | about a year ago | (#44813519)

No. At least not in this implementation.

From the article:
"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."

Ok, so it has a two-way connection between the "transmitter" and "receiver". It wouldn't be hard to modulate the energy output levels from both devices to encode data, both directions, all operating in the same spectra that our most ubiquitous communications devices also happen to use.

Again, from the article:
"...Starbucks coffee shops, for example, use Powermat technology to allow patrons to charge properly equipped smartphones and tablets on tabletops."

And...

""Just think, this could forever eliminate that annoying chirp from the mystery smoke detector with a dying battery at 3:00 in the morning," Zeine said." (my emphasis!...lol. I can't believe he actually said that.)

Think about the implications for a moment.

Re:No. (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | about a year ago | (#44813935)

Starts to make more sense....

From the Ossia Inc. LinkedIn page...

"Ossia is challenging people's imagination about what is possible with wireless power. Ossia's flagship product, Cota, redefines wireless power by safely delivering remote, targeted energy to devices as far away as 30 feet without line of site. Built on Ossia's patented smart antenna technology, Cota automatically keeps multiple devices charged without any user intervention, enabling an efficient and truly wire-free, powered-up world that is always on and always ready. Headquartered in Redmond, Wash., Ossia operated in stealth from its founding in 2008, and launched to the public in September from TechCrunch Disrupt 2013 in San Francisco."

Not good enough for a phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44813543)

It says it can deliver up to 1 watt. Most modern smart phones need 5-10 watts to charge at the full charging rate. 1 watt is going to be trickle charging and probably not enough to actually charge it at all if you are actually using it. Sure it might be a nice way to keep your phone relatively topped off while you are around the house but if you come home from work with a drained batter you are still going to want to plug it in or at least use a contact charging system.

It is also about 10% efficient so that 1 watt of power transmitted to your phone is 10 watts being used up by the wireless transmitter.

The transmitter is also going to be huge "bout the size of a large tower PC once consumerized" and "but it appeared to be a pillar-shaped piece of equipment that's about 6 feet tall."

Ahead of the curve (2)

TheJackOfFate (2392104) | about a year ago | (#44813545)

My friend's father is part of the team that developed this. It's safe (according to him).

Re:Ahead of the curve (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44813647)

I believe 1.5W per Kg of body weight is considered safe. So yep, falls well within that safe zone even for children and most pets.

Re:Ahead of the curve (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44814341)

Cool. Someone on the internet said that the relative of a friend has vouched for it.
You didn't even need the latter part; it's on the internet so, it has to be true.

(Not that I actually believe it's likely to be all that unsafe, but really?)

Already wanting to protect... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44813553)

...my testicles.

  next invention, faraday cage underpants...

Better solutions out there already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44813581)

Why transmit the energy? Researchers in Germany have solved Tesla's quest for energy straight from our surroundings (albeit at at an extremely low voltage/amperage), and the discovery of graphene has led to batteries that charge themselves using ambient heat. Seems to me it would be smarter to pull what's naturally there rather than transmit radiation through your house.

Ossisa are likely aliens bent on world domination (1)

ClassicASP (1791116) | about a year ago | (#44813613)

I bet somewhere out there hovering in a spacecraft in the next dimension, a couple of aliens were having beers together and one said to the other "I bet you 1 million astro-bucks these humans are stupid enough to be tricked into microwaving themselves to death". And sure enough, the saucer people started Ossia and are now marketing and preparing their doomsday devices for mass distribution. Yes, collectively, we're dumb enough people. Its happening. Its bad enough with all the wifi, cell, bluetooth, and other such radio waves, but this is the big kahuna that proves we're all .......just .....plain....stupid.

2.4 GHz and water (0)

mspohr (589790) | about a year ago | (#44813619)

The reason microwave ovens operate at 2.4 GHz is that it's the resonant frequency for H2O. Water absorbs energy best at that frequency.
So... we have a high power transmitter at 2.4 GHz... what could possibly go wrong.

The "2.4 GHz resonance frequency" thing is a myth (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44813819)

Water has no resonant frequency anywhere near 2.4 GHz. There is nothing special about that frequency, other than being designated as a "junk band" for applications like heating.

Re:The "2.4 GHz resonance frequency" thing is a my (3, Informative)

erice (13380) | about a year ago | (#44814179)

It may not be technically the resonant frequency of water, but there is something special about it:

The 2.45 GHz is a kind of useful average frequency. If the frequency was much higher then the waves would penetrate less well, lower frequencies would penetrate better but are absorbed only weakly and so once again the food would not absorb enough energy to cook well. [schoolphysics.co.uk]

My understanding is that the 2.4Ghz band was assigned for unlicensed use because it was already cluttered with things like microwave ovens and was, therefore, undesirable for licensed use.

Re:2.4 GHz and water (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44814115)

2.4GHz is an ISM [wikipedia.org] band. It has nothing to do with water.

WHY THE HELL IS MY MONEY STILL IN MY WALLET?!? (1)

fzammett (255288) | about a year ago | (#44813631)

That is all.

Re:WHY THE HELL IS MY MONEY STILL IN MY WALLET?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44813715)

Because this device hasn't yet focused its energy on your money and cause it to burst into flame?

nads (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | about a year ago | (#44813643)

note to self, keep my nads more than 30 feet from these things

Nothing new (1, Informative)

kurt555gs (309278) | about a year ago | (#44813667)

Nikola Tesla demonstrated a 100 Watt light bulb being lit 92 miles away from his Colorado Springs lab about 100 years ago.

30 feet?

Ha!

Waldo (2)

rossdee (243626) | about a year ago | (#44813705)

Remember the story "Waldo" by Heinlein

I don't think wireless power is a good idea.

Speaking of Waldo (and Magic, Inc) , Baen will be publishing it in ebook form April 2014. Buy it by March 15th to get it at the bundle price, also in the april bungle is Cauldron of Ghosts by David Weber and Eric Flint and Upon a Sea of Stars by A. Bertram Chandler

Re:Waldo (1)

horm (2802801) | about a year ago | (#44814061)

Remember the story "Waldo" by Heinlein

I don't think wireless power is a good idea.

No I don't. Care to elaborate?

Re:Waldo (1)

fnj (64210) | about a year ago | (#44814737)

Five seconds with google reveals the plot [wikipedia.org] . In the story it seems that widespread radiant power turns out to have unexpected and deleterious effects on people and equipment.

Hands up you this makes you think of evil things (1)

psyque (1234612) | about a year ago | (#44813713)

I'd love to be working at UL or a similar company and have something like this cross my desk. The potential for abuse sounds like fun. I'd make it a personal quest to find out how to make this fail in epic ways.

Grandma, why is your hair clip sparki... OMG GRANDMA!!!

Multifunction device (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#44813717)

The best thing about it is that it also works as a microwave oven and a tanning booth!

Re:Multifunction device (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | about a year ago | (#44814089)

That's far better than my comment. (But I got first post for the first time ever...)

Mostly ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44813725)

Sounds pretty ridiculous.

If he's picking up one watt with an antenna that's 3 inches on a side, that means he's pumping out much more than 16 watts per square foot. It only takes a fraction of that to create cataracts. Plus I doubt if the FCC is going to let anybody pump out 16 watts times say 500 to cover a 10 x 50 foot area.

These death rays (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44813731)

Can they be used to keep my dinner hot while it sits on the counter while the waitress is jabbering on her cell phone?

Forget Charging (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#44813781)

Make the receiver the size of AA batteries. Then throw out all batteries for low-use devices that don't travel. Kids games, wireless remotes, and all sorts of things all being run on wireless power, never needing a battery again would be a great thing for the environemnt. You'd buy batteries for portable radios and flashlights only. The infinitely rechargeable batteries.

1000mW will wipe out nearby WIFI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44813791)

I'll bet this is going to whistle right through FCC approval.

Not.

Smells like a stock scam (0)

DudeFromMars (1097893) | about a year ago | (#44813971)

The physics of this just can't work.
His 30 foot radius = 60 foot diameter sphere the power is broadcast to.
If you can pick up enough power on the surface of that 60 foot diameter sphere to replace a AAA battery, it would be a death ray at close range.

Fallacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44814007)

> The reason microwave ovens operate at 2.4 GHz is that it's the resonant frequency for H2O. Water absorbs energy best at that frequency.

This is a common fallacy. Food containing water absorbs microwaves (of all frequencies) because it is conductive.

What about people w. Metal Implants / Pacemakers (1)

RileyBryan (1475681) | about a year ago | (#44814013)

Certain materials might just get zapped a bit. Seems like this could be kind of like putting Grandpa in the microwave on low...

Bulk eraser? (1)

hendrikboom (1001110) | about a year ago | (#44814069)

Will it erase all the floppy disks and audio tapes in the house?

The actual tech (5, Insightful)

AdamHaun (43173) | about a year ago | (#44814145)

I dug up what looks to be the main patent [ipexl.com] for the technology from 2008:

The microwave energy is focused onto a device to be charged by a power transmitter having one or more adaptively-phased microwave array emitters. Rectennas within the device to be charged receive and rectify the microwave energy and use it for battery charging and/or for primary power. A communications channel is opened between the wireless power source and the device to be charged. The device to be charged reports to the power source via the channel a received beam signal strength at the rectennas. This information is used by the system to adjust the transmitting phases of the microwave array emitters until a maximum microwave energy is reported by the device to be charged. Backscatter is minimized by physically configuring the microwave array emitters in a substantially non-uniform, non-coplanar manner.

I don't know enough about antennas and E&M to evaluate that. Any help here? According to the articles it gets ~10% efficiency at 10 feet and receives (?) 1 watt at 30 feet.

On to the possible crank warning signs:
* According to his LinkedIn profile [linkedin.com] , he's spent his whole career being a CEO and/or (later) doing software testing at Microsoft.
* He's identified as a physicist, but all he has to show for it is a bachelor's in physics from the University of Manchester (where he also "studied ... computational linguistics"). No graduate degree or research career.
* Twenty years after he gets his degree, having done nothing but software, he's suddenly producing miraculous hardware based on cutting-edge physics?
* Charger is hidden behind a curtain during a demo.
* Charger is six feet tall, but they're going to consumerize it to the size of a desktop PC in two years, when it will cost ~$100.
* Replacing all their off-the-shelf hardware with custom-built optimized hardware? No problem!
* Current fridge-sized charger has 200 transmitters, but when consumerized will have "20,000 transmitters in an 18-inch cube".
* The only public demo makes an iPhone declare itself to be charging. No electrical test equipment or data shown. No real evidence that it does anything.
* Claims the power goes through walls just like Wi-Fi, even though Wi-Fi signal strength can drop by orders of magnitude when it goes through walls.
* Charger only gets 10% efficiency from 10 feet away in open air, but this is never mentioned as an obstacle. Come to think of it, no technical obstacles are mentioned at all.
* This:

“In wave theory and electromagnetic systems, you don’t get linearities everywhere,” he added, describing the science behind Cota. “There are situations where double could mean for more, like double could mean square, or 3 plus 3 apples could result in a net total of 9 apples, so to speak. When you move from the linear version to the power version, things happen that were quite surprising.”

I don't know, maybe I'm being too hard on the guy. Maybe he's been doing physics and electronics as hobbies all this time, actually did come up with a workable idea, and used his management experience to drive the development of a real product. Maybe they really will have a commercialized version ready in a couple months and I'll have to eat crow. I just can't help but feel skeptical of people who announce their world-changing new product before it actually is a product.

Re:The actual tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44814475)

Thanks for sharing your skepticism and your research! This does seem pretty fishy -- more like a hunt for funding rather than an intention to bring any real product to market.

Re:The actual tech (0)

Anachragnome (1008495) | about a year ago | (#44814717)

"... A communications channel is opened between the wireless power source and the device to be charged..."

Guess I was right about the communications...(http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=4193059&cid=44813519)

My take on this whole thing.

This tech, once miniaturized (notice, that was mentioned several times in the articles) and incorporated into devices, will essentially allow anyone with one of these "towers" to open a line of communication with any enabled device in range. Drive-by device sniffing, without requiring the device to "run" power-consumptive hardware or software--it literally charges your battery rather than create a load on the device. It might also be used to power-up devices that have the batteries removed for security measures.

And this company has ties to Microsoft (physically headquartered in Redmond since founding in 2008, in addition to the social/business connections). Considering the relationship between Microsoft and the NSA, this sounds like a sales pitch/market-softening effort to me. Who the target is for such an effort, I've no clue, but I have serious doubts this is about charging your damn phone.

Fri5t 5top (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44814169)

than this BSD bo"x, real problems th4t continues toChew things in

Would this fry WiFi devices (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44814271)

At the 2.4Ghz level would it fry wifi devices? All antennas absorb some amount of power from their signal but I don't know if it's a "use what I need" or "use everything I can get" type of relation.

Cancer rates soar (1)

ikhider (2837593) | about a year ago | (#44814485)

Chemo-sabi.

Wireless Charging Start-Up Claims 30-Foot Radius, (1)

Snufu (1049644) | about a year ago | (#44814627)

touts advantages of cylindrically shaped buildings.

Efficiency? (1, Insightful)

Kal Zekdor (826142) | about a year ago | (#44814633)

Even if this technology works reliably, on which I have my doubts, (not to mention the potential health risks if this thing accidentally irradiates someone by mis-aiming its EM beam), did anyone there stop to consider the efficiency of sending power through EM bursts at receivers through 30 feet of air, plus a wall or three? Can you imagine just how much energy is wasted through dissipation? We don't need less efficient means of transporting electricity. Anybody who uses this thing is going to use 3 - 10 times more electricity to charge their devices than just using a cable. (Numbers pulled from a remote inspiration device 30 feet away, but the actual amount of loss is somewhat irrelevant; the inverse square law guarantees it will be substantial.)

It's a bad sign when I'm the one pointing out the environmental dangers of new tech.

ma8e (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44814635)

Raymond in his In ratio of 5 to to have t0 decide TOPS RESPONSIBILITY so there are people [tuxedo.org], Much as Windows waal: *BSD faces a Took precedence ME! It's official
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