WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
As we become ever more reliant on the electron shuffling marvel that is electricity, we’re rapidly getting to the point where we no longer have to tether all our gadgets and devices to our wall sockets to charge them.
This year could well prove to be the year we finally see the first true wireless power charging products appear on the market that let us charge our gadgets, such as wirelessly charged drones, and, of course, phones, to wirelessly charged BMW cars, at a distance. This week at CES 2018 Energous, one of the leaders in the space who recently became the first company to get an FCC certification for their WattUp Mid Field charging product showed off the first WattUp supported product, a set of smart underwear called Skiin from a partner called Myant.
What the FCC approval means is that the company’s now able to sell their Near Field and Mid Field charging products into the US market, Near Field being wireless charging via direct contact, like a charging pad, and Mid Field being wireless charging at a distance of, in this case, up to 3 feet, making the latter product perfect for charging device on a desk or night stand. The company is also working on a Far Field charging product that will likely emerge this year that will let users charge devices up to 15 feet away.
Electric Underpants To Go Mainstream?
In Myant’s case they use Energous’ WattUp wireless charging tech to charge the embedded sensors in their Skiin underwear that track metrics like heart rate, without the need for a device like a smart watch, and it’s likely they’re going to be just the first in a long line of apparel companies to adopt the technology.
Of course, smart clothing isn’t Energous’ end game, eventually they want to bring wireless charging to all kinds of devices, from phones to watches to laptops, with the idea that, for example, you could have a WattUp Near Field charger on your desk for quick charging, a Mid Field charger in each room to charge your devices while you walk round the house, and a Far Field charger in your office to be used by everyone in the workplace.
According to Dialog Semiconductor, another of Energous’ partners the company has already built and demonstrated two wireless charging chips to its customers, suggesting that there are a number of other third parties who building more products based on the technology, so watch this space.