A new wireless charging platform based on radio frequency technology hopes to do away with the need for countless charging wires.
Israeli firm Humavox has today launched Eterna – a new platform to wirelessly power medical and wearable devices such as hearing aids, smartwatches and augmented reality (AR) glasses like Google Glass.
Users place multiple devices inside a box known as a NEST station that transmits radio waves over a broad band of frequencies and the firm’s ThunderLink technology, which is installed into devices, converts these into DC voltage to wirelessly charge devices' batteries.
The system allows multiple devices to charge simultaneously, without any constraints on orientation within the NEST station, and only transmits energy to the devices under charge.
“We asked ourselves, ‘how many USB cords can we have in lour lives’,” said founder and CEO Omri Lachman. “As users already keep these things in confined spaces, or a box of some sort, we just wanted to make sure a manufacturer can turn this case into a charger.”
According to Lachman, when the platform was first conceived in 2008 it was firmly intended to help users of medical devices such as hearing aids.
He said: “While it’s still a pain for the consumer, it’s still not a pain that really influences your life. We actually wanted to focus on an area that combines healthcare and medical applications where power, or power accessibility, is something that influences directly on people’s lives.”
But with the advent of wearable electronics the applications for the technology expanded significantly, which lead to the firm’s decision to launch their product as a platform rather than a device, so that customers would retain the ability to customise the NEST station as they saw fit.
“We are working with companies that are huge in their field, they don’t need us to support them in industrial design,” he said. “We really wanted to make sure they had the freedom to keep designing and maintaining their brand identity, their look and their feel. We don’t want to put up any barriers to them innovating.”
The firm’s ThunderLink wireless charging enabler can be integrated into a customers device through a variety of technologies, from printed circuit boards to full application-specific integrated circuits, while the NEST station can be as large or as small as the customer desires.
And Lachman claims the platform avoids many of the restrictions of inductive charging – which relies on an electromagnetic field to transfer energy and is currently the most popular form of wireless charging – such as low efficiency and the need to carefully place devices on a pad.
“We’re providing OEMs (original equipment manufacturer) with a solution that enables all types of devices to be charged wirelessly in a convenient and effective way that doesn’t sacrifice performance,” he said.
“With Humavox, there is no longer a need for wires, flat surfaces or precise placement onto power-charging mats. It’s as simple as putting a device of any shape or size into a box.”