Even prior to the official opening of CES, the media is given an opportunity to peek at some of the new and unique companies and technologies that will be on display each year through a day of press events and a mini trade show called CES Unveiled. As always, Kevin Krewell and I attended the event to look for the cool and unusual. We weren’t disappointed.
“Powercast, a company I have spoken to many times in the past few years was demoing its RF power transmission solutions, which are good for low-power sensor and battery-powered applications.”
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The result of Powercast’s initiative to slash RF transmitting technology costs, the Ubiquity transmitter ushers in homes of the future where convenient, contactless power can become ubiquitous
LAS VEGAS, Jan. 3, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Powercast Corporation, the leader in radio-frequency (RF)-based over-the-air wireless power technology, has unveiled its Ubiquity transmitter, an ultra-low-cost RF power transmitter which was selected as a CES 2023 Innovation Award Honoree in three categories:
- Smart Home
- Embedded Technologies
- Sustainability, Eco-Design & Smart Energy
Designed to be the industry’s most economical RF wireless transmitter, Powercast has lowered the barrier to entry where RF wireless power can actually become ubiquitous with multiple RF transmitters covering every home. Ubiquity will be on display in Powercast’s booth #52311 at the Venetian Expo in the Smart Home Marketplace during CES 2023 in Las Vegas, January 5 – 8, 2023.
“Powercast’s vision is to see a low-cost RF transmitter in every room in every house,” said Charles Goetz, CEO at Powercast. “Much like Wi-Fi routers, a home will need multiple RF transmitters to provide enough RF coverage where convenient, contactless, ‘set it and forget it’ wireless charging becomes a reality. So, we slashed costs and are sharing our Ubiquity design via a reference design with a low $5 bill of material cost, or an embeddable module, that lets manufacturers easily incorporate RF transmitting capability into their own products to accelerate RF transmitter networks in homes.”
Powercast’s over-the-air wireless power architecture has two sides: 1) a transmitter sends RF over the air, and 2) a receiver embedded in end devices harvests that RF from the air and converts it into DC (direct current) to both communicate data, and power devices.
On the transmitter side, Powercast’s Ubiquity will come in several forms, all able to both charge RF-enabled devices and communicate data back and forth with them throughout a home:
- Manufacturers have two options to turn their own products – such as home appliances, TVs, game systems, computer monitors or AI-enabled home assistants – into Ubiquity RF transmitters:
- A licensable reference design provides flexibility and ultimate cost savings for manufacturers to integrate just the electronics needed onto their own circuit boards for $5 or less bill-of-material (BOM) cost.
- An easy-to-integrate, drop-in embeddable module contains all the electronics and hardware needed. Manufacturers will add a power supply and antenna. Powercast will work with manufacturers on an antenna design that best fits their specific product size.
- Powercast also created a standalone Ubiquity transmitter combining its embeddable module with an antenna to show at CES. Powercast will produce this portable-speaker-sized transmitter.
On the receiving side, manufacturers can embed Powercast’s tiny Powerharvester® PCC110 receiver chip and a small antenna into their end devices for around $1 to enable them to work with an RF transmitter – either Powercast’s standalone Ubiquity, or RF-transmitting products created using the Ubiquity embeddable module or reference design.
This wireless power-over-distance architecture is perfect for charging low-power devices with continuous, reliable, background trickle charging. End device examples include TV remotes, electric toothbrushes, keyboards and mice, game controllers, earbuds, headphones, smart watches, fitness bands, hearing aids, clocks, electric shavers, home automation devices and many more devices.
Powercast’s Director of Research and Development Jason Gill explained, “The volumes are in the consumer electronics market, but it’s also price sensitive. In response to these manufacturers’ requests for a sustainable, ultra-low-cost wireless charging solution, our engineers perfected the highly-efficient, single-antenna Ubiquity design that can both transmit power and communicate data. Manufacturers can create environmentally-friendly, RF-powered ecosystems using either rechargeable batteries or no batteries, both of which eliminate disposable battery e-waste and battery replacement hassles.”
The Ubiquity transmitter can output up to 1W (3W EIRP) and automatically charges multiple RF-enabled devices that come into its charging zone – no charging mats needed. Power-hungry devices charge faster within several feet of the transmitter, while ultra-low-power devices like IoT sensors can charge up to 120 feet.
“The far-field wireless power transmitter semiconductor market will soon see a steep growth trajectory with most revenue coming from the consumer market,” said Phil Solis, research director at IDC. “On the receiver side, the consumer market will be the largest segment by 2024 and the vast majority of revenue by 2025. Low-cost solutions are necessary to enable the many devices in the home that can benefit from wireless power.”
The licensable Ubiquity reference design is expected in February 2023. The Ubiquity module and transmitter are expected in June 2023.
Powercast’s Booth #52311 Demonstrates the Home of the Future with RF Wireless Power Everywhere:
Representing the living room and bathroom of the future, Powercast will demo a distributed network of Ubiquity RF transmitters that keep RF-enabled devices working throughout the home. Devices include electric toothbrushes, TV remotes, game controllers, automatic faucets, smart home sensors (water leak, plant moister, thermostats), wall clocks and more.
“RF technology enables a fundamental change in the way our bathroom works,” said Charles Greene, Ph.D., COO and CTO of Powercast. “One transmitter charges all low-power devices like toothbrushes and shavers. RF-powered products eliminate cords around water and hence the chance for electric shock. RF also eliminates the inconveniences of the electric toothbrush – no more dock to accumulate grime, and no more need for batteries that often corrode from water seeping in.”
Episode 7 of the “Powered by Powercast” video series explains why the bathroom is ideal for RF-wirelessly-charged products.
To meet with Powercast, see this award-winning technology in action, and keep up with company news, visit https://www.powercastco.com/ces-2023/.
Operating in the lower 600 – 900 MHz frequency bands licensed by mobile carriers, the over-the-air RF charging platform enables carriers to monetize underused low-frequency bands and offer “Power as a Service” to charge low-power devices and smart home IoT sensors that eliminate disposable batteries
Las Vegas – Mobile World Congress – September 27, 2022 – Powercast Corporation, the leader in radio-frequency (RF)-based over-the-air wireless power technology, has created a unique cellular-based RF Power-Over-Distance Wireless Charging Platform, built around Sequans (NYSE: SQNS) Monarch cellular IoT connectivity technology. Powercast will demonstrate the solution at Mobile World Congress in Las Vegas, September 28 – 30, booth w2.1226.
Operating in the lower 600 – 900 MHz frequency bands licensed by mobile carriers, the Powercast cellular-based RF Wireless Charging Platform has unique benefits.
- Because cellular bands are licensed, or private, they have more flexibility on how much power they can transmit, antenna gain, and bandwidth which enables end devices to charge faster and at greater distances when compared to unlicensed, or public, bands.
- As cellular service moves increasingly to higher frequencies like 5G to increase data throughput, carriers can monetize their underused low frequency bands and offer “Power as a Service.”
- Ability to simultaneously charge at-a-distance many consumer devices, such as smart home security and automation IoT sensors, TV remotes, keyboards, ear buds, headphones, smart watches, fitness bands and hearing aids.
“Because many RF transmitting devices operate in unlicensed bands such as the 915MHz band, there are limits on transmit power, antenna gain, and other parameters so many devices can coexist and be interoperable,” said Charles Greene, PhD, COO and CTO of Powercast. “This innovative way to use licensed cellular frequencies to increase device charging power will allow manufacturers to create green, sustainable IoT devices that can charge more quickly and at longer distances from a cellular RF transmitter.”
The platform combines Sequans’ Monarch 2 GM02S module with a Powercast RF transmitting antenna to send RF over-the-air to a tiny Powercast PCC110 Powerharvester® receiver chip embedded in end devices. The Powerharvester harvests RF out of the air and converts it to DC (direct current) to either power a battery-free device, or charge a rechargeable battery, both of which keep disposable batteries out of landfills.
In the Mobile World Congress demo, a Sequans Monarch 2 cellular modem teams with Powercast’s 700MHz antenna to transmit a 700MHz RF cellular signal to Powercast’s PCC110 receiver and RF-to-DC converter chip, which then powers a battery-free sensor beacon to transmit temperature and humidity data to a gateway or phone.
“This collaborative effort to introduce cellular technology into the over-the-air RF wireless charging picture creates opportunities for more manufacturers to develop environmentally-friendly smart home IoT ecosystems that eliminate disposable batteries,” said Louis Chuang, EVP and GM of the Massive IoT Business Unit of Sequans. “With cellular everywhere, the opportunities are endless. Powercast is pioneering this field, and shares Sequans’ vision to make IoT more sustainable by integrating an increasing number of functionalities, and limiting the semiconductor carbon footprint.”
Multimedia assets are available: https://mwcamericas.vporoom.com/Powercast
Powercast is the established leader in RF wireless power-over-distance solutions. Since its founding in 2003, Powercast has led the industry in RF wireless power innovations that meet FCC and other global standards. Powercast’s technologies eliminate or reduce the need for wires and batteries, working at distances of 120 feet. The company’s collaborative approach and expertise in all aspects of product design, from vision through prototyping and commercialization, has resulted in dozens of applications, extensive commercial success in both industrial and consumer applications, and over 10 million units shipped. With more than 100 customers and partner companies globally, Powercast leads the RF wireless power market with 79 early and fundamental patents worldwide and 23 patents pending. www.powercastco.com
With both companies experts in power efficiency, Powercast sends power over an unprecedented 120 feet to power InPlay’s Bluetooth beacon which can communicate using only microwatts, together enabling battery-free, maintenance-free, long-range smart IoT sensor systems
SAN JOSE, Calif., June 27, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Sensors Converge – Powercast Corporation, the leader in radio-frequency (RF)-based over-the-air wireless power technology, and InPlay, inventor of the programming-free, ultra-low-cost and low-power Bluetooth sensor NanoBeacon system-on-chip (SoC) technology, have created a platform for designing battery-free, maintenance-free, long-range wireless IoT sensor systems that deploy easily for monitoring in the retail, medical, warehousing and industrial IoT markets.
Dr Charles Greene, Chief Operating & Technical Officer, Powercast Corporation sheds light on RF wireless power and factors contributing to its high demand. He also explains how RF energy harvesting is revolutionizing the wireless transmission consumer electronics market, its economic benefits and how it contributes toward clean and sustainable energy.
Industry leader in over-the-air wireless power over distance ramps production as global organizations increase demand for untethered devices that are freed from wires, batteries, and placement restrictions
PITTSBURGH, Pa., March 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Powercast Corporation, the leader in radio-frequency (RF)-based over-the-air wireless power-over-distance technology, announced that it has shipped 10 million wireless RF Powerharvester® PCC110 chips in the last two years alone. The company attributes this milestone to increased demand for wireless power-over-distance solutions which free devices from wires, batteries and placement restrictions such as the direct contact with a charging surface that the Qi wireless charging standard requires.
Powercast’s technology enables untethered devices powered remotely (up to 80 feet), eliminating or reducing the need for batteries and wires, increasing functionality and efficiency, and providing device placement freedom. As examples, IoT sensor networks can extend into remote locations where wiring and battery replacement are impossible, consumer devices can charge over the air without touching a charging mat, and environmentally-friendly devices can use either rechargeable batteries or no batteries at all, therefore eliminating disposable batteries.
Powercast is helping companies ranging from small to some of the largest in the world create feature-rich wireless devices. The company reports its 2022 bookings to date are already three times its 2021 bookings.
Powercast is teaming with robotics firm Badger Technologies to offer an electronic shelf label management system that stores can employ, leveraging an RFID reading robot to update pricing at the shelf level.
Feb 15, 2022Technology company Powercast has teamed up with Badger Technologies, a provider of retail automation solutions, to offer a robot-based electronic shelf edge label (ESL) management solution that updates product price labels via an RFID reader built into a robot. While interrogating the RFID tag in each label, the device provides the RF power required to change pricing information. The addition of robotic RFID readers to interrogate, write to and energize the ESLs provides a new benefit to stores, the company reports. Powercast was a finalist in last year’s RFID Journal Awards.
Following early testing of the robotic system with the robot, Powercast is now working with solution providers to schedule piloting of the technology at stores. Previously, the company’s UHF RFID ESLs had been tested via fixed and handheld RFID readers, both in-house and at a hardware store, according to Charles Greene, Powercast’s COO and CTO. Now, through the collaboration with Badger, Powercast has the ability to offer a third option, which includes the robotics functionality, in order to eliminate the need for a fixed infrastructure or for the manual labor needed to operate a handheld reader.
Powercast’s over-the-air RF wireless power recharges batteries or replaces them altogether
Powercast aims to make one-time-use batteries obsolete by working with electronic manufacturers to recharge batteries or replace them altogether with its over-the-air RF (radio frequency) wireless power technology. Many of today’s small electronic devices can be designed so they’re environmentally friendly, either with rechargeable batteries that can accept an RF wireless charge, or with no batteries that can be directly powered by RF power. A Powerharvester chip is embedded in devices to receive RF energy sent over the air from either a dedicated Powercast transmitter, or from industry-standard RFID readers. The Powerharvester then converts the RF to direct current (DC) to top off the battery or power the device.
Powercast’s technology was recently awarded by the Business Intelligence Group with its Sustainability Initiative of the Year in the 2021 Sustainability Awards program. These awards honor those people, teams and organizations who have made sustainability an integral part of their business practice or overall mission.