This startup has a way to charge wireless devices without cords - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Apr. 5, 2019 4:19 pm

This startup has a way to charge wireless devices without cords

Wi-Charge developed tech to provide a new way to bring power to devices. Now the Israel-based company is seeking to grow with smart home devices, said Baltimore-based CMO Yuval Boger.
Wi-Charge’s kit for powering a smart lock.

Wi-Charge's kit for powering a smart lock.

(Courtesy photo)

The change brought by wireless devices has freed up plenty of communication and functions that were previously tethered to the wall. Yet for the most part, a cord still remains in the mix to provide a charge when battery life runs low.

Wi-Charge is looking to provide power without plugging in.

Rather than replacing existing options, Yuval Boger, the Baltimore-based chief marketing officer of the Rehovot, Israel-based company, said Wi-Charge is aiming to offer a “third way” of delivering power.

“The first way is a power cord or cable, the second way is a battery and the third way is wirelessly, which is Wi-Charge,” said Boger, who previously served as CEO of VR company Sensics and several other tech companies.

The company’s technology uses infrared-based (read: laser) technology to provide power for a device. The company’s system includes transmitters that are ceiling-mounted or plugged in, and able to send power to a receiver that is inside a device or on a charging port. Rather than charging the battery, it’s providing power to the device itself.

Able to charge from across the room, it can provide enough power for a phone or smart home device. And since infrared has the capability of providing 100x more power than batteries can, Boger said the technology could potentially open up new capabilities.

“It gives product designers another option that gives you much more power than a battery, but doesn’t tie you to a power outlet like a power cable,” he said.

Boger demoed the product at ETC’s incubator space in Highlandtown on Tuesday at an event organized by the Maryland/Israel Development Center. And he brought along a train powered through Wi-Charge:

To allow the device to work, a receiver would either need to be embedded within the device, or attached to a phone’s charge port. Products displayed on the company’s website indicate it has created kits for smartphones, devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, as well as transmitters in a couple of sizes.

The technology was developed over nearly a decade, and Boger said the company also secured safety approvals related to infrared, which is regulated through both the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“The desire to send energy wirelessly has always existed,” Boger said. But in the process of developing that technology it took a lot of problem solving “to figure out the right technology, to make it in such a way that it could be priced for consumers, to design it in such a way that it could meet safety certifications,” he said.

The company is now in sales and marketing mode, with Boger leading that effort and looking to grow a presence in the U.S. Initially, it’s focusing in the area of smart home technology and home security.

To demonstrate uses, the company partnered with Alarm.com and has been appearing at trade shows. One example came at CES, the annual consumer electronics confab in Las Vegas, where the technology was used to power the opening of a door on a Schlage smart lock. Alexa also got involved via a wirelessly charged Echo Dot.

Working with these home-based systems also has an advantage when it comes to introducing a new technology, Boger said. If a homeowner wants to install a system for their house, they can do so on an individual basis. When it comes to cell phones, on the other hand, wider adoption would come when systems are available in public spaces.

Boger said the company works with the businesses who make the home products to outfit them with the technology. It’s signed on several early customers, and Boger said the team currently anticipates that products with the tech could be available within the next year. The company also expects to be hiring for sales roles in the U.S.

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