Powercast Launches Wirelessly-Powered Temperature Scanning System to Support Businesses’ Return to Normal
Fast, easy-to-install system supports employee safety and health; employees use personal, battery-free fob to quickly scan their temperature for touch-free entry and contact tracing on large corporate campuses
PITTSBURGH, Sept. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Powercast Corporation, the leader in radio-frequency (RF)-based, over-the-air wireless power technology, today announced the launch of a new wirelessly-powered RFID Temperature Scanning System that enables businesses to easily and safely monitor employees’ temperatures as businesses work to re-open and get back to normal.
The new system is comprised of a wirelessly-powered temperature-scanning fob for each employee, an RFID reader, and a TV monitor. Employees receive a fob small enough to fit onto their keychain that is personalized to them. The fob quickly charges when held near an RFID reader at the entrance to the business using Powercast’s patented power harvesting technology. Employees scan their own forehead using the fob to read their temperature, and are permitted to enter or are denied entry based on the reading, which appears on the monitor.
For larger organizations and those on corporate campuses, multiple readers can be used to keep a record for contact tracing if issues arise. Once employees take their temperature when entering the building, they can return the fob to their pocket and do not need to remove it again for location tracking. In the case of COVID-19 exposure, timestamped information can be automatically gathered from the readers to ensure that all potentially exposed employees are notified.
According to a recent COVID-19 Return to Work Survey Report from Littler, an employment law practice, more than half (58%) of employers surveyed plan to conduct testing or health screenings on employees, with most referring to temperature checks (89%) and symptom screenings (72%).
Powercast’s Temperature Scanning System is already in use at Powercast’s headquarters in Pittsburgh’s RIDC Park. The RFID reader antenna is integrated into the company’s check-in counter, enabling fast, hands-free screening. During the first 12 days, the system took a total of 300 readings, which were as accurate as a traditional handheld thermometer. The new Powercast Scanning System has a distinct advantage over handheld devices that are shared and hard to maintain germ-free, or other modes that require employees to stop and write down their information, potentially sharing pens and creating a blockage at entry points.
In the wake of COVID-19, businesses are eager to get back to normal as quickly as possible, while ensuring the safety and welfare of their employees. A COVID-19 Returning to Work Survey of 1,000 U.S. employees by Eagle Hill Consulting found that 54 percent of employees are worried about exposure to COVID-19 at their job. Most employees (71 percent), however, felt their employers will be prepared to safely bring employees back to the workplace.
“We designed this new Temperature Scanning System to take advantage of proven technologies that can be quickly and easily implemented by companies of all sizes so that they can get back to work, safely and without a huge imposition to workers,” said Charles Greene, Ph.D., chief operating and technical officer of Powercast. “This is one of many ways we are applying wireless power to solve real-world problems and eliminate some of the limits of other alternatives.”
Wireless Power Makes Scanning Fast, Easy, and Affordable
The RFID Temperature Scanning System uses RAIN RFID readers as its source of RF wireless power. The System’s over-the-air RF harvesting technology can harness RF energy from Powercast’s own PowerSpot® or Powercaster® RF wireless power transmitters, or from industry standard UHF RFID readers.
The enabling technology behind the system is Powercast’s tiny, embeddable Powerharvester® receiver chip, which harvests RF automatically when it’s within range of an RF power source, and then converts it to direct current (DC) to power the application. The chip is highly efficient and effective in deriving power from even very small amounts of RF and is currently being used in a number of consumer and business applications where wireless power provides a distinct advantage.
How the RFID Temperature Scanning System Works
Each battery-less fob contains an RFID chip, which identifies its owner; a Powercast Powerharvester receiver chip; a Microchip Technology PIC24F04KA201 microcontroller (MCU); and a temperature sensor. The employee simply holds their fob device in a designated power area equipped with an RFID reader antenna and a TV screen. The fob harvests the RF to power up the temperature sensor. After recording the temperature, the data is sent to the RFID reader to read. The TV screen then displays the employee’s name, temperature, and either a green or red light to indicate if they may enter.
Powercast chose Microchip’s PIC24F04KA201 MCU because of its minimal power consumption and ability to incorporate I2C and an analog-to-digital converter into a very small package, enabling a car fob-like size. In addition, Microchip’s MPLAB® Code Configurator sped up the concept-to-prototype process, resulting in a commercially-available system in less than 2 months.
“The PIC24F microcontroller family is a perfect fit for the Powercast temperature scanning fob due to the extreme low power consumption, flexible peripheral set and small form factor. Microchip’s toolchain enables rapid development and commercialization as demonstrated by this product,” said Joe Thomsen, vice president of Microchip’s MCU16 business unit. “Creative designers are able to quickly develop low-power solutions like this temperature scanning key fob, ensuring employees return to work in a safe environment.”
Powercast will be exhibiting at the RFID Journal Virtually Live! event, September 30th – October 1st, and will be conducting demos of the Temperature Scanning System throughout the course of the event. For those interested in a demo, please contact Hank Gasbarro at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at https://powercastcorporation.rfidvirtual.com/ .
Powercast, established in 2003, is the leading provider of RF-based wireless power technologies that work in the far field (up to 80 feet) to provide power-over-distance, eliminate or reduce the need for batteries, and power or charge devices without wires and connectors. Founded with the vision of enabling untethered devices powered over the air, Powercast continues to create the most efficient, safe and highest power harvesting technology achievable while complying with the FCC and other global standards. Powercast’s IP portfolio includes 63 patents worldwide (32 in the US) and 34 patents pending. www.powercastco.com.
Zer0 to 5ive for Powercast
Powercast Releases Over-the-Air Wireless Charging Grip for Nintendo Joy-Con Controllers on Amazon
Enables carefree wireless charging where gamers don’t have to dock their Joy-Cons to charge
PITTSBURGH (PRWEB) AUGUST 25, 2020
Powercast Corporation, the leader in radio-frequency (RF)-based over-the-air wireless power technology, has released first production units of its Wireless Charging Grip for Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Controllers, the world’s first gaming product that charges over the air without wires or charging mats. Developed to deliver carefree wireless charging where gamers don’t have to dock their Joy-Con controllers, Powercast’s grip automatically recharges them over the air when placed within one foot of Powercast’s PowerSpot® wireless power transmitter. Powercast’s Wireless Charging Grip and its companion PowerSpot transmitter are now available on Amazon initially for Nintendo Switch gamers in the U.S. and Canada for a bundled price of US$149.99: https://www.amazon.com/Wireless-Charging-PowerSpot-Transmitter-Bundle/dp/B08FTJPDBS/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=wireless+charging+grip+powerspot&qid=1598271782&sr=8-2
Most grips simply make Joy-Cons easier to hold, while Powercast’s grip also wirelessly charges two Joy-Cons and doubles as a backup battery pack. It keeps batteries topped off when out of the transmitter’s range for about 26 hours of gameplay on one charge. Most gamers can achieve a full charge over a 24-hour period by simply leaving their Wireless Charging Grip near the front of their PowerSpot transmitter between gaming sessions. Daily usage and battery level will determine charging range and rate.
The LED on the grip guides gamers where to place their grip to optimize charging. When fully charged the LED double blinks green, and when the grip needs charging the LED double blinks red. It blinks green when fast charging, yellow when moderate charging, and red to tell users to place their Wireless Charging Grip closer to the PowerSpot transmitter for faster charging. A new PowerSpot app (iOS and Android) provides a hub for monitoring the charging status of the grip and other PowerSpot-enabled devices, downloading firmware updates, and more.
“Over-the-air wireless charging is perfect for most of us gamers who play a few hours per day,” said Charles Greene, Ph.D., chief operating and technical officer of Powercast. “Without having to plug in or position it on a charging mat, users can simply set their Wireless Charging Grip down in front of their PowerSpot transmitter and it will wirelessly recharge until they’re ready to game again.”
Greene continued, “Our grip is great for gamers who want the convenience to ‘set it and forget it,’ but we also included a standard USB-C port for wired charging if needed.” He explained, “Wired charging delivers high power for a fast charge, while over-the-air charging delivers more convenient, lower power over an extended period of time. Powercast’s highly efficient RF harvesting system optimizes power delivery over the air for a high performance, easy-to-use alternative to wired charging.”
Powercast’s embedded Powerharvester® receiver harnesses RF energy sent over the air from the U.S. FCC- and Canadian ISED-approved PowerSpot transmitter, and converts it to direct current (DC) to charge the Wireless Charging Grip’s embedded battery. This embedded battery then charges the connected Joy-Cons, and can act as a backup battery pack once the Joy-Cons are fully recharged. Using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), the grip requests power from the transmitter when its batteries are low, and signals it to stop when charged.
“While our focus remains helping our OEM customers design in our wireless power technology and deliver their products to market, we’ve really enjoyed developing our own wirelessly rechargeable consumer product as well,” continued Greene. “Many of us are Switch gamers, so we can’t wait to leave our Joy-Cons in the grip and just set it down to recharge without having to dock them.”
“We’re very excited to start shipping our Wireless Charging Grip even amidst the pandemic that caused manufacturing delays, and we plan to continue to ramp production as the global situation allows,” continued Greene.
Powercast’s future vision is for consumers to be able to place all their PowerSpot-enabled devices in front of a PowerSpot transmitter to enjoy far-field (up to 80 feet, or 24 meters) over-the-air wireless charging. Thirty or more enabled devices in the charging zone will automatically connect and receive power, sharing the transmitter’s three-watt (EIRP) output emitted in the 915 MHZ band. A device’s power consumption determines its charging range and rate; power-hungry products charge best at close range, while low-power devices such as sensors can operate at the maximum distance. Each device’s instructions will recommend its charging distance and time.
Editorial note: Visuals are available at: https://www.powercastco.com/grips.
Powercast, established in 2003, is the leading provider of RF-based wireless power technologies that work in the far field (up to 80 feet) to provide power-over-distance, eliminate or reduce the need for batteries, and power or charge devices without wires and connectors. Founded with the vision of enabling untethered devices powered over the air, Powercast continues to create the most efficient, safe and highest power harvesting technology achievable while complying with the FCC and other global standards. Powercast’s IP portfolio includes 57 patents worldwide (32 in the US) and 29 patents pending. https://www.powercastco.com.
Note: Nintendo, Switch, and Joy-Con are registered trademarks of Nintendo.