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Power Wireless Networking Technology

FCC Approves First Wireless 'Power-At-A-Distance' Charging System ( 138

The FCC has approved the first wireless charger that works from up to three feet away. Engadget reports: San Jose-based startup, Energous, announced on Tuesday that it has received the first such FCC certification for power-at-a-distance wireless charging with its WattUp Mid Field transmitter. The transmitter converts electricity into radio frequencies, then beams the energy to nearby devices outfitted with a corresponding receiver. This differs from the resonant induction method that the Pi wireless charging system relies upon and offers a greater range than the Belkin and Mophie chargers that require physical contact with the device. The WattUp can charge multiple devices simultaneously and should work on any number of devices, from phones and tablets to keyboards and earbuds, so long as they're outfitted with the right receiver. What's more, the WattUp ecosystem is manufacturer-agnostic -- like WiFi -- meaning that you'll still be able to, for example, charge your Samsung phone even if the transmitter is made by Sony or Apple.
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FCC Approves First Wireless 'Power-At-A-Distance' Charging System

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  • Not one used to generate sparks, but a properly tuned Tesla coil (hint: they don't produce sparks when tuned properly.)
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I wish this Tesla circlejerking would end at some point.

      No. He was not the genius you think he was. No, he was not killed by the illuminati because he wanted to give free power to the world. No, he did not blow up Tunguska with a death ray. He was a fucking lunatic who had some good ideas and some absolutely horrible ones.

      I'd mention his stance on eugenics as well but since you're probably from reddit you'd take that as a point in his favor.

      • He was a fucking lunatic who had some good ideas and some absolutely horrible ones.

        That more or less describes the content of Slashdot, as well.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Remote control, wireless transmission of power, alternating current, multi-phase alternating current, induction motors, incandesent bulbs...the list does go on. Like many brilliant men he had illusions of grandeur and he had a 19th century mindset because, well, he was born and raised in the 19th century.

        You ranting about a few of his crack pot ideas doesn't make him less of a genius. It just means that like most geniuses especially prior to the 20th century, he had a few crackpot ideas.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by rickb928 ( 945187 )

          True. 'Free' power fits right into the Socialist meme that was in ascendancy back then. Still is. Still failing at everything but killing people.

        • Kinda like Leonardo da Vinci.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        You're annoyed because Tesla has contributed considerably to the world while you... well... did not contribute anything? Poor soul.
      • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

        And what happens if we don't implement eugenics in some form? In the long run.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          And what happens if we don't implement eugenics in some form? In the long run.

          You end up reproducing.

        • by Megol ( 3135005 )

          Business as usual. Evolution.

          What happens if we implement eugenics?

          Business as usual. Evolution.

          • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

            Not Darwin's evolution though, more or less everyone survives now. If I understand correctly if we do nothing we'll end up with a situation where everybody has multiple serious disabilities.

            • by Megol ( 3135005 )

              That is the kind of misunderstanding of evolution that leads to the more extreme versions of eugenics. It isn't true.

              While people with severe genetic diseases (the only type of disabilities relevant) have a much better chance to live to reproductive age today it also mean that those without have better chances to live longer, be more fertile and have the means to support larger families. In places where the medical care is advanced people with genetic faults have better support and information leading to le

              • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

                Without survival of the fittest, random mutations will survive.

                Random mutations = disabilities.

                • Without survival of the fittest, random mutations will survive.

                  So you think survival of the fittest is some sort of mechanism to enforce genetic purity? The fuck?

                  Random mutations = disabilities.

                  No they don't. This is likely the dumbest thing you've posted in this entire subthread which is amazing since your first sentence was already pretty fucking stupid.

                  • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

                    How do you think genetically derived disabilities come about then, explain that to me if it's not derived from random genetic mutations.

                    Then where is it from?

                    I said nothing about "genetic purity" you said that, not me. Survival of the fittest simply means those that are able to survive do. These days everybody is able to survive.

                    • How do you think genetically derived disabilities come about then, explain that to me if it's not derived from random genetic mutations.

                      Where do you think lactose tolerance came from? Oh right, random genetic mutations and last time I checked lactose tolerance is not a disability. That's why your statement is dumb.

                      Then where is it from?

                      The issue was with your blanket statement. There are plenty of random mutations that have provided species with more hardiness rather than disability.

                      I said nothing about "genetic purity" you said that, not me.

                      No, it was just your implication.

                      Survival of the fittest simply means those that are able to survive do. These days everybody is able to survive.

                      Yes, and many species have been able to be more fit for survival because of random mutations. So basically the opposite of your entire claim.

                    • It's not survival of the fittest. It's survival of the survivors who can reproduce survivors that survive to reproduce survivors ...

                      Today we have survivors who are certainly no the fittest.

                      We nurture those who would have, and did, perish a century ago. We assign special protections in many cases.

                      Survival has never been about the "fittest," anyway.

                      It's been about those who adapt to the changing environment through "luck," called "mutation."

                    • by torkus ( 1133985 )

                      'fittest' is relative to society which changes many orders of magnitude faster than genetic traits are formed and passed on.

                      There's no singular 'right' answer, though there are many 'wrong' answers.

                      To argue with myself...even the wrong answers do drive science forward and broaden our understanding and abilities in regards to genetics. Eugenics might limit bad traits but would also limit the gene pool which has it's own potentially disastrous effects. So if someone with a strange genetic mutation broadens

                    • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

                      Where do you think lactose tolerance came from? Oh right, random genetic mutations and last time I checked lactose tolerance is not a disability. That's why your statement is dumb.

                      WTF dude, you keep putting words into my mouth that I definitely didn't say and then you respond to those words, it's like you're having some weird conversation with a person that doesn't exist.
                      I never said Lactose intolerance is a disability. I said genetic mutations cause disabilities, I did not say all genetic mutations cause d

                    • Yeah, that's the problem with this line of reasoning; everything is a genetic disability, until it isn't. And a lot of times, you get good and bad. I.e. on the plus side, you're now resistant to malaria. On the negative side, you're now prone to sickle-cell anemia.

                      The point Darwin tried to make, and that so many people miss, is that evolution isn't a journey to a pre-defined end goal, but an adaptation to specific environments. Today's advantage might be tomorrow's weakness, and vice versa. All the oth

                    • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

                      We have some stark choices ahead.

                      So far as I know, unhelpful genetic mutations greatly outnumber helpful mutations, it stands to reason that when you randomly change something, most of the time a random change won't be beneficial.

                      Options are, do nothing and allow all random genetic mutations, that I think would be hellish. Another option might in the future be to halt all genetic mutations, that would be a boring stagnation. Or we could actively choose and even create deliberate mutations (genetic engineeri

                  • by torkus ( 1133985 )

                    Random mutations are, by name, random.

                    To expect them to be merely evenly distributed between good and bad is ludicrous. The chance of a random mutation doing something good, especially without negative repercussions, is extremely rare.

          • Evolution ends for the sentient as soon as they become sentient. ~ © 2017 CaptainDork

      • by Megol ( 3135005 )

        I don't see any form of jerking? You are of course correct that fringe-"science" people like Tesla and describe him as a near deity. He was human and had a quirky personality and a sense of PR stunts. But calling him a lunatic?

        Bringing up eugenics is a low blow. Generally people with education believed in eugenics up until ~1945 and then the reformed forms of eugenics (under other names) took over.

      • I wish this Tesla circlejerking would end at some point.

        You don't have the right to wish that. Tesla is responsible for the electricity you are using to go on your little rant, for the remote control technology that allows people to operate the satellites which transmits the message, for the entire concept of wireless transmission of power, hell you could even make the argument that he did more for wireless communication than Marconi.

        Musk has certainly done his part to drag Tesla's name through the dirt on behalf of his PR parasitism, but that doesn't change th

    • I bought two of these to cook chickens without having to spend time chasing them :-)
    • Actually, WattUp's technology stem from the same idea as behind this gadget :

      Regular wireless emission would suffer from the inverse square law.
      So instead, you need to avoid spreading the power all over.

      The thinkgeek gadget tries to solve the problem by using highly directional antennas.

      WattUp attempts to solve it by using enormous arrays of antennas, beam forming, modelling of the room, etc. to try to focus the emitted energy as precisely as possible in pocket around the charged device.

      • "Sufficiently advanced satire is indistinguishable from reality."

        Oh the irony!

      • by rfengr ( 910026 )
        All far field wireless energy suffers from 1/r^2. Arrays don’t help that, and suffer from d^2/lambda for the far field convergence. This whole thing is crap. It’s surprising the FCC approved it.
        • "It’s surprising the FCC approved it."

          As long as it doesn't kill puppies and doesn't interfere with other services I don't think the FCC has the option not to approve. Mediating beneficial use use of the radio spectrum is way beyond anything the FCC is staffed or chartered to do.

          But you're right. It's hard to see how this can be anything other than horribly inefficient..

        • This whole thing is crap.

          Will it be perfectly efficient ? For sure, not.
          (I mean even the Palm/HP's Touchstone surface induction system, which - unlike the Qi system mentioned in the summary - uses magnet to better align the phone with the induction surface, isn't very efficient neither, despite being as close to the emitter as possible)

          Will it be a tiny bit better than plain blasting from a globally diffusing antenna ?
          Sure, it's going to be a tiny bit better.

          It’s surprising the FCC approved it.

          FCC's (and similar body is other jurisdiction) only job is to regulate thi

  • No thanks. I like my DNA unmodified and my retinas not-fried. Do you really want to be in the same room with this thing?
    • You're worse than a neoteny, then.
    • WiFi.
      Your TV.

      Electromagnetic emissions are everywhere. You're already bathed in them.

      (this should be good)

  • Nice (Score:5, Funny)

    by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Wednesday December 27, 2017 @07:16AM (#55814271)

    I bet California, who recently warned about having your cellphone near your body, will just love this.

  • Mark my words - this "broadcast power" work is going to end badly. The scientists working on this will start being mysteriously killed, one after another - and this time we won't have John Steed to investigate []. Yes, Mrs. Peel is still around... but I don't know if she's up to trading karate chops and judo throws with the bad guys anymore.

    If you're a venture capitalist... whatever you do, don't turn your back on Hayworth or Cresswell.

  • Does anyone know some basic facts about the performance of this device: How efficient is it? What is the maximum power it can transfer? I have been to the manufacturers web site and after a quick search I can't seem to find these basic facts. It seems to say that the maximum range is 5 metres (15 feet) and I would guess that both parameters might be range dependent.

    I agree that for very low power devices efficiency is not fantastically important since they contribute such a tiny amount to your total
    • by Anonymous Coward

      My guess is that they are doing some sort of beam steering. While that's better than a monopole antenna, they still have the radiation limits enforced by the FCC. Last I heard, that still 1W without a license. Perhaps five radiators, so maybe 5W total output power? I gather this what they had to get the FCC to sign off on.

    • Basically the efficiency sucks because you can't beat physics. If the power is sent out in all directions then if you double the distance from the device you have an 1/8 of the available power. You can do better by focussing the power in a beam but the beam will spread as it goes farther from the device. Then you have interactions with the atmosphere which will further reduce the efficiency.

      • Hmmm. I wonder what would happen if you built these into, say, light sockets, or electrical sockets, with narrow sector antennas?

        Or build them into the bottom of your monitor, with the sector antenna pointed down and somewhat forward, basically to cover the front of your desk?

        • Nothing you do is going to get around the physics. Having them in lightbulbs is worse than in the monitor. If you are going to do it then have a separate device so that you can direct the beam(s) to where you want them and to be able to place the devices as close as possible. But you will never be able to beat plugging the device in.

          • No, you'll never be able to beat plugging the device in, but will you get to 'good enough?'

            I mean, you'll never get as much bandwidth out of Wi-Fi/LTE/whatever as out of Ethernet or fiber, but man, there's an awful lot of Wi-Fi/LTE/whatever in common, daily use in the world. It's not uncommon at all to find households that have never plugged a device into Ethernet.

            • The difference is that if you choose to use Wi-Fi instead of plugging in the device you don't lose anything. You use more energy to do the wireless transfer but you don't lose packets or data by choosing the wireless option.

              By choosing to use wireless charging you lose energy compared to a wired connection. There's the energy lost as you get farther away from the transmitter due to the transmission spreading out, the interference with the atmosphere, and the conversion to and from electromagnetic radiation.

    • This version only does 1 meter (3 feet) they do have a version not approved which can do the 5 meters.
      I have found some references to an IEEE article on the details but not the actual article. From that the device emits 200 mW to a max of 500mW (authorized by FCC), it will take around 8+ hours to fully charge your average smart phone, to get the most benefit the antenna have to be aligned.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2017 @09:26AM (#55814571) Journal
    If the wavefront is spherical the power density (watts/m^2) will drop quadratically. That is, if you go ten times farther the power available will drop 100 fold. This is why Tesla's humongous tower near New York could not transmit any usable amount of power to anyone. We have not repealed that law in the last 100 years.

    Unless there is a communication protocol between the devices and the charger and a pencil like beam could be created, steered and transmitted, the efficiency of this device likely to be very poor, and the range extremely limited.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      there is a communication protocol between the devices and the charger and a pencil like beam could be created, steered and transmitted

      You have accurately described Energous's product.

      • So basically there is a proprietary protocol that must be licensed from the manufacturer and built into devices in order to use it. Unless this company gets bought by Apple or Samsung, I don't see this product lasting very long.

    • by Anne Thwacks ( 531696 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2017 @10:39AM (#55814853)
      We have not repealed that law in the last 100 years.

      The Australian government is probably working on that as we speak.

    • by RNLockwood ( 224353 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2017 @11:16AM (#55815101) Homepage

      It's the incandescent bulb of power efficiency.

    • Yeah, all of what you said. I don't understand why it is they spend so much money and time developing this crap that is such a waste of power and really isn't going t be practical, and may not be safe for humans to be around in the long term.

      1. What frequency(s) is this using?
      2. How much transmit power?
      3. What's the efficiency of the transmitter? (almost a rhetorical question, it's likely to be low)
      4. At max range what's the overall efficiency? (again, it's likely to be low)
      5. Is it a broa
    • A schoolmate pointed this out back in the 1980s when noise cancellation technology was first being developed. If a sound wave field has energy, and its inverse sound wave field has energy, and when you overlay the two on top of each other the sound disappears, where does the energy go?

      I didn't learn the answer until grad school. The energy gets shifted from the areas experiencing destructive interference (no sound), to the areas experiencing constructive interference. It's actually the same principle
      • Yes, they are called phased array antennae.

        Earlier the only way to concentrate a beam was to use a concave (usually parabolic) reflector and the only way to direct them was to move the whole contraption of the reflector. It is very good solution, even today you see many radar towers with rotation antennae, and landing approach radars that oscillate.

        But by using an array of transmitters and by using phase difference between them you could create constructive and destructive interference and radiate differ

  • by Anonymous Coward

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's called a light bulb and a solar panel.

  • Nuthin', growing an extra arm and chillin'

  • by Ancient_Hacker ( 751168 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2017 @12:19PM (#55815709)

    Sorry, but your basic physics and biology make this idea a no-go. Re biology, it takes just milliwatts per square centimeter to cause cataracts. Most remote-power uses require a lot more than a few milliwatts per square cm of receiving antenna. Regarding the physics, you need area to capture power and the power goes down as the square of the distance. Those two main issues combined mean you can't send much power more than a few inches.

  • So, what % of energy is transferred and what % is lost?

  • The system is a grossly inefficient use of resources for the convenience of ... charging a device. The environmental impact of the whole system it is meant to fit in to, from the production of batteries of the devices to the inefficient transmission of power charge them is huge. Embracing this means that really, you don't give a damn about how we use our resources, that addressing the human impact on the environment is someone else's problem.

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