No cables, no hassle: Wi-Charge’s in-room wireless charging is coming next year

Wi-Charge In-Room Wireless Charging
Today, we still rely on wired charging for our phones, tablets, and laptops. Wi-Charge is working on a long-range wireless charging system that will send power to your device wherever it is in the room, no cords or careful placement on a charging mat needed. Excitingly, the company has taken a crucial step toward making that future a reality.

Wi-Charge has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for its wireless charging technology, which means it’s safe to use and much closer to going on sale. Digital Trends spoke to Wi-Charge about the importance of the FDA getting onboard, and how the system will work when it’s released.

“Without FDA approval, we couldn’t sell products in the United States,” explained Ori Mor, Wi-Charge’s co-founder and vice president of research and development. “Now we’re in the clear and ready to engage the market.”

Several companies have attacked the challenge of wireless charging systems, but Wi-Charge works differently then it’s competitors, which is why the FDA needed to certify the technology and not, as you may have thought more likely, the Federal Communications Commission.

Anything transmitted over the air has to comply with safety and commercial regulations. Most of the time it’s radio frequency waves for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, for which the FCC needs to be involved; Wi-Charge uses infrared beams to deliver power.

“In the United States, for historical reasons, the relevant entity for infrared device approval is the FDA and not the FCC,” Mor said. “Technically the FCC also has to approve Wi-Charge, but because we’re using infrared, it’s not a challenge for us to get FCC approval — because technically Wi-Charge isn’t under the domain of the FCC.”

Wi-Charge’s technology will be available in commercial public spaces.

Some of Wi-Charge’s competitors, including Energous and Ossia, must strive for the FCC’s approval because they use radio waves, not infrared.

“Compared to standard Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, these systems use a lot of power, and for this reason it’s challenging for these devices to meet the FCC’s requirements, both for safety and compatibility with other products,” Mor said. “For them, getting FCC approval is a huge obstacle.”

Energous, for example, has so far only received FCC approval for wireless charging using a pad.

Wi-Charge has been demonstrating its technology for years, progressively increasing the power delivered and reducing the cost of the hardware.

“The speed of charging and range have been improved, but are roughly the same as before. Range can reach up to 10 meters indoors, and power is up to three to four watts per device. The speed of charging is slower than cable charging, but since the charging happens in the background without you even knowing, there’s no need for fast charging.”

The technology operates in what’s called line-of-sight, so there’s no need to place a Wi-Charge compatible device on or near a special pad, it just needs to be out of your pocket or drawer and visible to the transmitter. At first, Wi-Charge will rely on dongles or special cases attached to your device to receive a charge, which comes from charging stations that double as lamps. In the future, Wi-Charge wants light fixtures in buildings to have the system already installed. Similarly, Wi-Charge receivers will be fitted inside devices, so no external parts will be needed to charge wirelessly.

“We are already in discussions with carriers and service providers regarding deployment of transmitters in public spaces in multiple geographies. Naturally, we can’t elaborate on the agreements but we can say these are ‘tier one’ players.”

When asked about how long it would be before receivers were embedded in hardware, Mor called the dongles a “short phase” in the product’s life and added that the company is in talks with manufacturers already.

Initially, Wi-Charge’s technology will be available in commercial public spaces, and the first examples will arrive during the first six months of 2018. The company wouldn’t discuss its plans for launching a Wi-Charge product for the home, so any dreams of wirelessly charging your phone inside your house may have to wait. But given how awkward it is to carry charging bricks and cables around, let alone finding a spare power socket in a crowded shopping mall or busy coffee shop, we’d argue that public wireless charging is considerably more helpful anyway.

Just as we now take wireless internet connections for granted, there may come a time when we take wireless charging systems for granted too. The future just got a little more convenient, huh?

Mobile

Barnes & Noble’s new Nook tablet now has its own keyboard cover and dock

Barnes & Noble recently launched its largest mobile device to date, the Nook Tablet 10.1. Now the company has released a couple of accessories designed exclusively for the new Nook: A keyboard cover and a charging dock.
Mobile

How does fast charging work? Here’s every single standard compared

Modern smartphones can charge in mere minutes instead of hours. How does fast charging work? Here's a guide to the most popular standards, including Qualcomm Quick Charge, Apple fast charging, OnePlus Dash Charge, and more.
Smart Home

New wireless power kit puts a charge into your smart speakers via infrared light

Wireless power technology is coming fast, and Wi-Charge is leading the innovative trend with a new wireless power kit that can transform Amazon and Google smart speakers into fully functional, wire-free devices.
Home Theater

A recent Twitter leak may show the upcoming AirPods 2 model

Apple plans to release new AirPods much the same as it does new iPhones, and a wireless charging case, water resistance, and better Siri integration are among the improvements we can expect in future models.
Mobile

5G version of upcoming Galaxy S10 may feature 6.7-inch display, six cameras

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Mobile

Photos attributed to midrange Google Pixel Sargo suggest flagship-quality camera

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a third. A budget Pixel 3 that boasts some of the best features of the other two has been leaked.
Smart Home

You can now make Skype calls on Amazon Echo devices

Amazon's Alexa can now make video and voice calls with Microsoft's Skype audio and video calling. Alexa-enabled devices can make voice calls. Alexa devices with video can make video calls to computers, mobile devices, and Xboxes.
Mobile

T-Mobile OnePlus 6T phones get some improvements in update

The new OnePlus 6T continues OnePlus's tradition, coming with flagship power, camera performance, and the gorgeous design you want -- but for under $600. Here's everything you need to know about the OnePlus 6T.
Mobile

Sprint offers holiday buy one, get one free deal for iPhone XR lease

After months of rumors and speculation, Apple has finally taken the wraps off of the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Now that the phones are out, you might be wondering how you can get them for yourself.
Mobile

Google replaces its classic Search page with Discover on mobile devices

As part of its 20th anniversary, Google unveiled its plans to improve Search, starting with its Google Feed. Now known as Discover, the update brings along a redesign to help you find content that aligns with your interests.
Smart Home

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best wireless earbuds around.
Deals

The best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…
Mobile

How to find a lost phone, whether it's Android, iPhone, or any other kind

Need to know how to find a lost phone? We have a simple guide right here that will help you to locate your lost or stolen phone using both native and third-party apps and services, whether it’s a smartphone or an older model.