Skip to main content

Ossia Cota can wirelessly charge electronic devices throughout your home

ossia cota tile cloud ces 2017 rsz img 20170104 155933  1
Image used with permission by copyright holder
It’s safe to say that Ossia, the wireless pioneers behind over-the-air charging platform Cota, gave one of the most impressive demonstrations at last year’s Consumer Electronics Show. And this year is no different. The company’s founder and chief executive, Hatem Zeine, showed an analog clock, a USB charger, and a AA battery charging feet away from a wireless base station. But in a sit-down with Digital Trends, the firm’s focus was less on the Cota’s technological underpinnings and more about its partnerships, implementations, and form factors.

The Cota, for the unintiated, is a somewhat nebulous term for Ossia’s wireless charging technology. It comprises a transmitter, a receiver, and software to manage it all. The transmitter, which comes in form factors ranging from an illuminated monolithic white cylinder to a drop ceiling tile, charges Cota-compatible devices using hundreds of omnidirectional antennas that beam radio (RF) waves 100 times a second.

They receivers lie mostly dormant, triggered only when a Cota-compatible receiver sends a packet of information indicating it’s low on power. The Cota then directs the needed energy to the transceiver’s relative location, or to multiple transceivers’ locations. The devices needn’t be stationary — the Cota transmitter re-establishes disrupted connections within milliseconds.

Prime Day Focus
Roborock Prime Day shopping guide: Lots of options, which is right for you?
Is the Bluetti AC200L the best power station for camper vans?
These Razer Blade Prime Day deals really pack a punch [in gaming power]
Tiny projector, epic 4K cinema: Watch movies anywhere with LG CineBeam Q

The hardware is improved from last year. Multiple Cota devices can be linked to expand the power radius several feet. And Ossia devices can charge up to dozens of devices simultaneously, albeit at a slower rate — each additional receiver requires that a Cota transmitter to spread a limited amount of power thinner.

But the biggest news this year was the Cota Cloud, a highly granular management platform. It’s somewhat akin to wireless router software: Cota transmitters’ power output is customizable on a per-device basis. An administrator can view the power levels of connected receivers, prioritize power delivery for one at the expense of another, and deny access entirely. Alternatively, Cota’s built-in software can perform those tasks automatically, granting devices with high energy requirements more power than others.

But the possibilities extend far beyond basic device management, Zeine said. A manufacturer could implement a “pay-to-play” service that’d require users to fork over a fee for wireless charging. A wireless carrier could limited access to paying subscribers. Or a restaurant could charge for power by the minute.

Zeiene proposed a more radical scenerio: Subsidized products. An expensive smart home lock could be discounted hundreds of dollars, for instance, but charge a user 10 cent every time they enter a PIN code.

Payment schemes aren’t the only capability the Cota Cloud enables. Thanks to Cota’s wireless medium of choice — radio waves — Cota-compatible devices can simultaneously transmit information to Cota base stations — information which manufacturers can use to track habits. A wirelessly connected toothbrush, for example, could send daily usage stats to the manufacturer. And though it hasn’t been implemented, Zeine said location tracking is well within in the realm of feasibility: A Cota transmitter could use devices’ metadata to track their location within inches.

Ossia is working with manufacturing partners to develop products based on Cota’s patented technology. The company’s inked deals with case maker XPNDBLS, Molex, and Japanese electronics company KDDI. Zeine envisions smoke alarms and smart appliances that never need a battery replacement, smartwatches that recharge on your wrist, smart home cameras that don’t require an adapter, and medical devices with a constant supply of wireless power. And he projects that manufacturers will eventually begin to take the liberties that wireless charging affords. Phone manufacturers might be comfortable settling for a smaller battery in exchange for a bigger processor or an additional sensor, for example.

“The reason that people want to charge quickly is because you give up your device and you want it back,” Zeine told Digital Trends. “But if you have a power system at home and one at the office, let’s say you spend eight hours in the office and 10 hours at home, that’s 18 hours of continuous charging, and that’s roughly equivalent to an iPhone 6 charging from zero to 100 percent three times.”

Ossia cleared a regulatory hurdle in December, safely passing the same safety thresholds for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth operations as the Federal Communication Commission requires. It expects the first compatible devices to launch in the coming months.

Kyle Wiggers
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kyle Wiggers is a writer, Web designer, and podcaster with an acute interest in all things tech. When not reviewing gadgets…
4 simple pieces of tech that helped me run my first marathon
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar displaying pace information.

The fitness world is littered with opportunities to buy tech aimed at enhancing your physical performance. No matter your sport of choice or personal goals, there's a deep rabbit hole you can go down. It'll cost plenty of money, but the gains can be marginal -- and can honestly just be a distraction from what you should actually be focused on. Running is certainly susceptible to this.

A few months ago, I ran my first-ever marathon. It was an incredible accomplishment I had no idea I'd ever be able to reach, and it's now going to be the first of many I run in my lifetime. And despite my deep-rooted history in tech, and the endless opportunities for being baited into gearing myself up with every last product to help me get through the marathon, I went with a rather simple approach.

Read more
This bracelet helps you fall asleep faster and sleep longer
woman-in-bed-wearing-twilight-apollo-on-ankle

This content was produced in partnership with Apollo Neuroscience.
Have you been struggling to get the recommended seven hours of sleep? It's always frustrating when you get in bed at a reasonable time, then toss and turn for a hours before you actually sleep. The quality of that sleep is important too. If you're waking up multiple times during the night, you're likely not getting the quality REM cycle sleep that truly rejuvenates your body. If traditional remedies like herbal teas and noise machines just aren't helping, maybe it's time to try a modern solution. Enter the Apollo wearable.

Now we understand being a little skeptical. How can a bracelet on your wrist or ankle affect your sleep patterns? Certainly the answer to a better night's sleep can't be so simple. We considered these same things when we first heard of it. We'll dive deeper into the science behind the Apollo wearable, but suffice it to say that many people have experienced deeper, uninterrupted sleep while wearing one.
A non-conventional approach to better sleep

Read more
The 11 best Father’s Day deals that you can get for Sunday
Data from a workout showing on the screen of the Apple Watch Series 8.

Father's Day is fast approaching and there's still time to buy your beloved Dad a sweet new device to show him how much you love him. That's why we've rounded up the ten best Father's Day tech deals going on right now. There's something for most budgets here, including if you're able to spend a lot on your loved one. Read on while we take you through the highlights and remember to order fast so you don't miss out on the big day.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 -- $200, was $230

While it's the Plus version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 that features in our look at the best tablets, the standard variety is still worth checking out. Saving your Dad the need to dig out their laptop or squint at a small phone screen, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 offers a large 10.5-inch LCD display and all the useful features you would expect. 128GB of storage means plenty of room for all your Dad's favorite apps as well as games too. A long-lasting battery and fast charging save him the need for a power source too often too.

Read more