After a 2003 coffee shop meeting near downtown Pittsburgh, a small team set out to develop true wireless power solutions that could both eliminate batteries and enable completely untethered devices that need no wires or charging surfaces. It was obvious to everyone in that meeting that long-range wireless power, or power over distance that could remotely charge enabled devices, would be a game changer for many industries and products. The team spent several years refining its wireless charging technology – which transmits a radio frequency (RF) whose energy can be “harvested” to power devices embedded with a small receiver – and entered the market at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) where Powercast’s technology won CNET’s Best of CES for Emerging Technology.
Powercast has since helped customers solve many remote wireless charging challenges, powering their wireless sensor networks, waterproof designs, reusable smart bands, RFID tags and many other commercial and industrial devices, and in 2017 launched solutions designed to power consumer electronics devices. Along the way, the company has accumulated awards and created significant intellectual property (IP) surrounding RF-based wireless power, including 42 patents worldwide (21 in the U.S.) and 29 patents pending.
Where enabled devices automatically charge when within range of a transmitter, Powercast’s contactless charging technology provides over-the-air power at a distance to multiple devices – no wires, charging mats or direct line of sight needed. A transmitter sends RF energy to Powercast’s Powerharvester® receiver embedded in a device, which converts it to direct current (DC) to directly power that device or recharge its batteries. Operating across a wide RF power (as low as -17 dBm) and frequency (10MHz to 6GHz) range, the Powerharvester receivers are designed to convert RF to DC with up to 80 percent efficiency.
Two long-range transmitters pair with the Powerharvester receivers to serve different markets. Powercast’s 80-foot-range Powercaster® transmitter was FCC- and ISED-approved in 2010 (FCC ID: YESTX91501, IC #: 8985A-TX91501) for commercial and industrial applications. Powercast’s smaller PowerSpot® transmitter for consumer electronics can be a standalone charger, or be built into other consumer products that then become “PowerSpots” able to charge multiple enabled devices around them. The goal is for consumers to simply place enabled items for recharging within range of a PowerSpot in their home or public places.