Cota Wireless Charging By End Of 2016
Imagine a world where power is transferred wirelessly. You simply walk into a room and your smartphone starts charging inside your pocket. No need to attach it to a cable or onto a charging pad. This is the real future and it is starting to seem like a reality.
A company called Ossia demonstrated this technology at the CES 2016 expo. They developed a new wireless platform called Cota that can deliver power via RF frequencies. At the moment the amount of power it can transfer is quite low, only 1W. However it can do that up to 10m / 33ft away. So hopefully they will find a way to increase the power as the range is obviously more than enough. Check out this demonstration video that Ossia has put together.
How does Cota work?
It is actually quite simple. In order to transfer power wirelessly you still need a base station and a receiver which is a special chip by Cota. Cotas base station is basically a big glowing tube. Believe me it sounds worse than it actually looks like. I wouldn’t mind having it in the corner of my living room.
Hatem Zeine, CEO of Ossia said the following: “I have been designing electronics and computer software since I was 11, and I’ve always been fascinated by the electromagnetic signals and waves and structures and so on. One of the things people don’t realize about the world is that very little of the world in linear … and the uniqueness of [Cota’s algorithm] was that it works not on a line of sight. You do not need to focus the antennas in its direction.”
Cota delivers wireless power similar to how routers deliver wireless internet. The base station has thousands of small antennas that act as a beacon. The Cotas receiver chip emits hundreds of beacon signals everywhere. The beacon signal bounces off walls and ceilings until it is captured by the base station. The base station recognises the signal and sends power back to the device by the same path. Now when you move your device it reroutes the path. And if the beacon signal is doesn’t reach the base station then it stops sending power. For example when something blocks the signal.
Currently Cotas chip has been included into a smartphone case. Ossia is looking for ways to make their current Cota chip smaller. This will let the smartphone manufacturers include it inside their devices. So in the future you will have built-in wireless charging as such inside your device.
At the moment the wireless power it can transmit is limited by the FCC for human exposure. So that is one of the reason why it can only transfer 1W. Which means that it will take around 4 to 5 times longer to charge a smartphone than with a cable. If you think about it though, one of the reasons why we want our smartphones charged fast is because we want to get them unplugged asap so we can continue using them. With wireless charging we aren’t limited to that. You don’t need to walk to the corner of your room to read the messages on your charging smartphone.
As this technology is really new, you can’t expect a fully working product just yet. According to Ossia they are planning to begin production at the end of 2016. Their first generation of Cota will include a base station and a wireless charging case that will include the chip. Ossia hopes that by the time next generations are released, smartphones will already have their chips inside them.
Honestly I can’t wait to get it. Cota is actually the first proper wireless charger that actually works like expected to. I just can’t even imagine that the price might end up being. I guess we will have to wait until 2017.