Powercast may soon let you wirelessly charge your iPod, iPhone through thin air

Avril Lavigne“How much money could you make from a technology that replaces electrical wires? A startup called Powercast, along with the more than 100 companies that have inked agreements with it, is about to start finding out. Powercast and its first major partner, electronics giant Philips, are set to launch their first device powered by electricity broadcast through the air,” Melanie Haiken reports for Business 2.0.

“It may sound futuristic, but Powercast’s platform uses nothing more complex than a radio–and is cheap enough for just about any company to incorporate into a product. A transmitter plugs into the wall, and a dime-size receiver (the real innovation, costing about $5 to make) can be embedded into any low-voltage device. The receiver turns radio waves into DC electricity, recharging the device’s battery at a distance of up to 3 feet,” Haiken reports.

Haiken reports, “Picture your cell phone charging up the second you sit down at your desk, and you start to get a sense of the opportunity. How big can it get? ‘The sky’s the limit,’ says John Shearer, Powercast’s founder and CEO. He estimates shipping ‘many millions of units’ by the end of 2008.”

“Powercast says it has signed nondisclosure agreements to develop products with more than 100 companies, including major manufacturers of cell phones, MP3 players, automotive parts, temperature sensors, hearing aids, and medical implants,” Haiken reports.

“Could Powercast’s technology also work for larger devices? Perhaps, but not quite yet. Laptop computers, for example, use more than 10 times the wattage of Powercast transmissions,” Haiken reports. “But industry trends are on Shearer’s side: Thanks to less energy-hungry LCD screens and processors, PC power consumption is slowly diminishing. Within five years, Shearer says, laptops will be down to single-digit wattage–making his revenue potential even more electrifying.”

More in the full article here.

42 Comments

  1. There have to be some negatives about power going through the air.

    Look at my ex-in-laws for example. They lived too close to the power lines and they are all R*T@RDS! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”raspberry” style=”border:0;” />

  2. Hmm, coolish…

    …but bearing in mind how many Brits get the twitchies over nearby cellphone transmitter towers, there may be more than a few technical issues and social attitudes to resolve before this tech is accepted generally.

  3. “If you are broadcasting the electricity all the time even when the device is not in range wouldn’t that be quite wasteful?”

    I agree, and I’ve said that for years about radio stations. All those waves going to waste after I turn off the radio is horrible to contemplate. It’s even worse than wasting electrons on a computer monitor that lacks a screensaver.

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