Soon, no more charging

Charging your phone may soon be a
thing of the past. Recycle-charging and wi-fi charging would soon take over. Technology companies are
developing a way for your gadgets to power up
while they’re sitting in your pocket.
By converting radio waves into battery-
replenishing power, smartphones equipped
with special receivers can literally pull energy
right out of the air.
It’s not far-off in the future stuff — the
technology is making its way to the real world
in a matter of months.
Companies like Energous ( ), Nikola Labs
and a small handful of others have different
ways to accomplish that, but their technology
essentially works like this: Special antennas
focus cellular and Wi-Fi signals into a pocket of
low-powered energy around the back of your
phone. A receiver on your phone then converts
that radio energy into DC power that can
charge the battery.
Wireless charging technology has existed for
years in the form of power mats, pads and
even Ikea furniture. But you need to keep your
phone on the pad in order to charge it, making
it only slightly more convenient and
aesthetically pleasing than plugging it into the
Long-distance wireless charging was long
thought to be too dangerous. Walk between
your phone and the charger, and you were
likely to get zapped.
But by harnessing the energy that is already
being sent to and from your phone — radio
signals — you can charge your phone at a
distance without worrying about being fried in
the process.
Related: The apps that drain your phone’s
battery the most
Energous plans on releasing wireless chargers
and phone cases in late 2016 that will let you
charge your phone at a distance of up to 20
feet. The company demonstrated the
technology at this year’s Consumer Electronics
Show in Las Vegas, winning two “Best in Show”
awards and three other honors.
At a distance of up to five feet, the company’s
transmitters charge phones at the same speed
as a wall charger. Up to 10 feet, the speed is
reduced to USB-charging levels. And up to 15
feet, your battery will charge at a “trickle.”
But what makes Energous particularly
compelling is that it claims to have signed a
commitment with a  top tier tech company
that will build the wireless receivers right into
the gadgets themselves (no case needed).
Energous says that its nondisclosure agreement
prevents it from naming the company, but CEO
Stephen Rizzone told CNNMoney that the
commitment is for “millions of devices,” and
“it’s highly likely that you own some of this
company’s products”.
Related: How to make your ‘dead’ batteries last
eight times longer
Nikola Labs, which stole the show at
TechCrunch Disrupt this year with its battery-
extending smartphone case, uses somewhat
different technology to apply a similar concept.
Unlike Energous, which requires a special
transmitter to send energy to your phone,
Nikola Labs’ smartphone cases harness and
recycle the unused energy your phone creates
by searching for cell towers and Wi-Fi routers.
With normal use, the Nikola Labs cases don’t
actually charge up your phone — they help
extend your battery life by about a third. But
get close enough to a Wi-Fi router, and your
phone will start charging similar to the way that
Energous’ transmitters operate.
Nikola Labs’ cases will ship later this year, but
early adopters can get their hands on it by
backing a Kickstarter campaign .
In the early days of wireless charging
technology, you’ll still have to plug in on
occasion: Your Energous transmitter will be
limited to a single room in your home, and
your Nikola Labs case usually won’t charge up
your battery.
But soon, transmitters could be
deployed in Wi-Fi routers themselves and
receivers could be universally built into devices.
Universal wireless charging wouldn’t only
impact phones. Imagine electronics with “batteries
not required” labels. And the impact universal
wireless charging could have on the wearables
market could be game-changing.
The Apple Watch and other wearable devices
typically only get 10  hours of battery life
— a cheap price for something that you’re
supposed to wear all day long. If they could
charge while you’re wearing them, you’d be
able to treat your fitness band or smartwatch
just like a regular wristwatch. Coming soon!

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