New wireless charging tech may enhance your next phone, thanks to FCC approval

apple wi fi wireless charging patent energous
The world is going wireless. However, while wireless charging does exist, it’s clearly still in its infancy.

It usually, for example, requires the purchase of a wireless charging pad, which you place your device on when you want to charge it. There’s one company, however, working on a wireless charging method that works wherever your phone is.

The company is called Energous, and its wireless charging product, WattUp, essentially uses a transmitter to charge your devices wherever you are in the house, even if the device is in your pocket or purse. Energous just got FCC approval for a version of WattUp, marking a big step in the creation of truly wireless charging.

Energous’ system requires the use of a small microchip, which is attached to whatever you want to charge. While this could be a drawback, if the technology takes off, the microchip could be built into devices by manufacturers.

Unfortunately, there’s another major drawback to the tech that the FCC approved. The FCC only approved the tech for small gadgets, and those gadgets have to remain in contact with the miniature WattUp transmitter to charge, which is not the same wireless charging vision that Energous first presented. But it is a step in the right direction. Energous CEO Steve Rizzone says that the FCC approval is phase one, and that the next phase will include technology that can charge at short distances — perhaps a few inches.

FCC approval is a pretty big deal for this kind of technology — it basically means that the technology, at least in its current incarnation, won’t cause any interference with other devices.

Related: See what’s available in wireless charging here

Now that Energous has FCC approval, it will likely start looking for potential partners who might want to build the tech into their devices. We don’t know when Energous plans to take the wraps off of phase two of its product, but if companies start building the required chips into devices, truly wireless charging could be on the horizon.

Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen wireless charging technology that’s better than the charging pads we currently use. Ossia is working on a product similar to Energous, called the Cota, which can reportedly charge a phone from up to 30 feet away. If these new products are anything to go by, we could have truly wireless charging within a few years.


Need a last-minute gift? Get an iPhone Wireless Charger for under $20

Whether you're looking for stocking stuffers or gift ideas, these deals from Mophie, Anker, and Yootech can get you a wireless charging pad for cheap. Don't settle for wired charging if you don't have to.

Chinese court upholds Qualcomm's complaint that Apple infringed on two patents

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.

19 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great stocking stuffer ideas), we've rounded up 19 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth…

Patent highlights Apple's sky-high ambitions for AirPower wireless charger

At its September event last year, Apple unveiled the AirPower -- its new wireless charging mat that will allow you to charge multiple devices at one time. It has not yet been released. Here's everything we know about the device so far.
Emerging Tech

With this robotic garage, retrieving your car is like using a vending machine

Remembering where we parked our cars can be a real pain. But what if our cars came to find us, rather than the other way around? A new automated robot parking valet system aims to help.

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Emerging Tech

This unusual nature-inspired robot is equally at home on land or in the water

This intriguing, nature-inspired robot may look unusual, but it's impressively capable of moving on both land and water without problem. Heck, it can even travel on ice if necessary.
Emerging Tech

This cryptocurrency wallet for kids isn’t nearly as stupid as it sounds

So you’ve taught your 6-year-old child to read, write, and play nice with others. What’s next? Give them a base understanding of cryptocurrency, of course. This Kickstarter aims to help.
Emerging Tech

Light, speed: Lighting kit for DJI Mavic 2 lets you fly and film in the dark

Lume Cube, maker of small battery-powered LED lights for mobile photography, has announced a new lighting kit built specifically for the DJI Mavic 2 -- the first of its kind. Already our favorite drone, this makes the Mavic 2 even better.
Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff: Here are all the important upcoming SpaceX rocket launches

From ISS resupply missions to a host of communication and scientific satellite launches, SpaceX has a busy year ahead. Here's a rundown of some of the company's most important missions slated for the next year.
Emerging Tech

Virgin Galactic’s latest test flight takes it to the edge of space

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has successfully carried out its fourth powered flight in Mojave, California. It was the company's most ambitious test flight yet -- and bodes well for the future.
Emerging Tech

We’re going to the Red Planet! All the past, present, and future missions to Mars

SpaceX isn't the only organization pining to visit the Red Planet. Here's a detailed list of all operational and planned missions to Mars, along with explanations of their objectives, spacecraft details, and mission proposals.
Emerging Tech

There’s a giant EMP blaster in New Mexico. Don’t worry, it’s here to protect us

An electromagnetic pulse has the potential to disable virtually all electronics within a large area. To help protect against such a threat is a new, friendly EMP emitter. Here's how it works.