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Ossia Cota wirelessly charges smartphone from 40 feet

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I hate charging my phone. Seriously. Looking for an outlet, finding the charger, trying to keep the phone off the floor so it doesn’t get stomped.

But what if you didn’t need to find a charger or an outlet? What if you could charge a phone, magically, through the air we breathe? That’s the Holy Grail of device charging, right?

A company called Ossia is working on it. In fact, it’s demonstrating it. It’s called the Cota remote wireless power system, and it’s been under development for five years. Last September, Ossia charged an iPhone from 10 feet away of a Cota charging station in front of more than 2,000 people at the Disrupt SF conference. TechCrunch shot video:

Now, the company’s engineers have improved on what was shown at Disrupt. Now, the company claims, one Cota charging station can charge multiple devices at the same time. Now, the phone and the charging station don’t even need to be in sight of each other.

Ossia says it proved these new capabilities in front of a bunch of investors and technologists recently. It charged a smartphone from a distance of 40 feet through two walls and closed doors. That emits a “holy crap” from us.

Think public charging stations are cool? Imagine if they could hide these wireless charging stations behind walls at airports or restaurants. How about in an office, or at home? You could power up your laptops and smartphone and any other device at the same time, without searching for outlets, without fishing for your chargers.

One problem: The Cota technology needs to be built into your devices. And that’s what Ossia is currently working on: getting manufacturers to include Cota receivers in smartphones, laptops, etc.

How does it work? The company says in a press release:

Ossia’s patented smart antenna technology uses phased antennas to transfer power without the use of inductive coils, ultrasonic waves, magnetic resonance, charging pads or mats. The Cota technology is designed to charge many devices simultaneously, regardless if a device is stationary or moving. Designed for an effective radius of 30 feet, a single Cota charging station can charge or power all the battery-operated devices in every room of an average home or office suite.

The Cota technology consists of two parts: a charger and a receiver. Cota receivers built into devices and batteries regularly send out beacon signals omnidirectionally. As the Cota charger receives these beacons, it returns focused streams of targeted signals, building pockets of energy at the exact locations of the beacons’ origins. This pinpoint precision targeting of energy safely and efficiently powers all Cota-equipped devices and batteries within its effective radius, even as they move around the room.

Cota is inherently safe. Tracking beacons use only about 1/10,000th the signal power of Wi-Fi, which itself is a low power signal. Cota’s energy pockets are created using approximately the same signal strength emitted by a mobile phone during a call. The laws of physics make Cota power signals naturally avoid anything that absorbs energy, such as people, pets and even plants.

We’ll keep an eye on this emerging technology and let you know if and when compatible devices are available. It’s likely to be a slow, gradual process, so we don’t expect it to happen this year.

This graphic from Ossia’s website gives you an idea of how powerful and pervasive this technology could be. For example, I’m always forgetting to charge my electric toothbrush!

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  • http://www.eds-inc.com Dave Miga

    Another Tesla wannabe… Their “law od physics” is a total lie, humans and pets ARE energy absorbers (just in case you forgot about microwave ovens). As an EE with 40+ years experience in this field, I can tell you that to put out enough energy to charge a cellphone in less than a week within 30 feet would require lots of microwave power and be VERY dangerous to any living thing in the “30 foot radius” and would have absolutely no chance at all to pass FCC regulations. Simple high-school physics is easy to calculate; the power required to charge a Li battery would require a very high power at a very high frequency (microwaves) which would damage any living organism standing around in the area. Hope any investors do their due-diligence before throwing money at this scheme. I have exposed many seedy claimants throughout the years and always expose the hidden wires and false claims

    • Joe Paone

      Dave, very interesting and compelling thoughts. In your view, will it ever be possible to wirelessly charge devices?

  • http://www.eds-inc.com Dave Miga

    There are plenty of ways, but not in an omnidirectional way as they claim. Just like a radio station needs to transmit one million watts of power to generate 0.001 watt of energy in your receiving antenna, it is easy to calculate how much power, and at how high a frequency, to generate enough power to charge a high-power battery. It would require HUNDREDS of watts of microwave RF power, turning your living room into a huge microwave oven. They will be exposed at some time, they always are. Done many of them myself throughout the years, and investors pay me to show how they did it.

    Now directionally, using smart tech like cellphones, or lasers, that is a different story. Using a phased array antenna system and very directional beaming using RF microwaves, it is possible, But anything between the transmitter and receiver, or laser and solar collector, will be badly burnt.

    • Joe Paone

      Dave, I’ve reached out to Ossia for a response to your criticisms. Will post it here if I receive a response. Thanks for the thought-provoking comments!

  • Tim

    The one question they do not seem to answer is how long it would take for a device to charge. With using such a low power source for charging it seems like it would take a long time to get a complete charge.

  • http://eds-inc.com Dave Miga

    I calculate that it would take about a week to charge a small LI battery at 30 feet using a 200 watt 2.5GHz transmitter. It would be too dangerous for any person or pet to be within a 200 foot radius of the transmitter, and the transmitter would never be able to pass current FCC rules unless it was very high in the air, like a TV station transmitter. I welcome others to concur my calculations

  • lance

    the WPC qi distance is 5mm only, take QiPack wireless portable charger for example, you need place phones on it before wireless charging.