Would you like to charge devices Over-the-Air?

At upcoming CES in January 2018, at least these two companies are going to exhibit their wireless Over-the-Air charging technologies. Both were recently FCC approved.

The transmitted power is pretty low, 5 watts for Energous WattUp and 3 watts Powercast PowerSpot. And this power is available only at short distances, but range can be up to 80 feet / 24,4 metres.

I see a future where all portable electronic devices are powered with wireless Over-the-Air charging at home and at work, and with batteries elsewhere.

Maybe in the distant and far away future portable electronic devices need only a small battery or no batteries at all, when wireless Over-the-Air charging networks cover areas like mobile networks now.

Can electric cars be powered with Over-the-Air charging?

Would you like to charge or power your devices Over-the-Air?

Is this a good future scenario or are we going to radiate ourselves ill?


Not sure if this is the same as wifi charging or radio wave charging but if it is, it’ll take a long time to charge up,
will likely require a new router specifally designed for this sort of charging,
will require a specific chip inside the device to charge up,
and if incorrectly implemented could eat up important data while charging.

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Some people who are more sensitive to wireless frequencies might feel unwell with the radio waves blasting around (we’re leaving out whether it’s a psychological effect or our usual wireless transmissions really impact people physiologically).

That said, 5 Watts… Hmm… Considering most gadgets need 5V/2A to charge and function, seems a bit low :confused:

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That’s interesting and really cool. It may take a few more years before this becomes mainstream, but it could be really useful for IOT, and make deploying small, energy efficient sensors/devices more convenient without worrying about routing power cabling etc.

But like @hiddenflaw mentioned, even though it’s been FCC certified, any potential hidden side effects, especially for overly sensitive individuals should be studied in the long term.

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I’ve heard about this, but I don’t believe it as “safe” currently, and I believe a lot of other technology will need to change to make this feasible.

My main concern from a tech standpoint is that batteries are not meant to stay always connected to power. The information s I last understood it will allow for any Wi-Fi connected device to pick up electricity in a similar manner, which would negate the reason for a battery, and cause it to go through charge/discharge cycles faster.

My main concern from a health standpoint is what effect do these radio waves have on human health and other living things? It still has not been established as to whether long term cellular exposure can affect human health (i.e. Cause cancer), and here we are trying to add electricity to that mix. We might end up with multiple generations of abnormalities before we realize the cause.
I know that some people here may be rolling their eyes at me and think me a nut job or overcautious for the health concerns, but truthfully we do not know what effect items have on a general populous until extensive testing has been accomplished and/or those items are released into the wild. We’re still not even certain what’s causing the death of so many bees!

Just my two cents. I mean, I use wireless charging daily, but extending that to a wider field like a house instead of a 4x2 charging pad might be asking for trouble.


WiFi already uses radio waves, this simply uses those signals to power the device instead of transmit information.

A technique they use is to add “blank” data in between actual data, and the devices that need to charge will eat up that “blank” data for charge and use the actual data for the WiFi.


I think it has been studied and there is no effect. There are some wild theories lurking around in the web, but those are as credible as the flat earth stuff and others alike.

The best cure seems to be that sensitive people are kept unaware of any electronic devices or radio transmitters, since humans can’t detect them and only suffer from “the effects” if they know or think they’re there.


Oh we do know, some of these agrochemicals that are used are clearly the culprit.

Hence my words in the parenthesis, but I share your thoughts.


  • wireless’ harm to health: no science to prove our daily wireless usage brings harm to health, as of yet. So that brings the question: do we use something unless it is proven absolutely safe, or do we use something as long as it is reasonably safe? it’s something one has to decide for oneself…
  • bees: deforestation, pesticide abuse, pollution

anyway, back to the topic… I think 5W over the air is too feeble to charge our phones and tablets, (or laptops!?), though it might work for peripherals ie Bluetooth earphones, which will mean you don’t need to charge your wireless earphones anymore!

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Ok, so it’s like a modulation-demodulation model. I’m still not sure how or why this would work with electricity, and why it would be safe, unless its a REALLY low voltage, which in that case, it would be an insignificant amount of power it was providing. I could see it work for home-based devices, but not feasible as a primary charging solution.

Last I saw it had been studied, as you said, but the studies were inconclusive as to the long term effects of exposure to cellular waves, because they are such a high frequency band. There are wild internet stories, as with anything, but I am just bringing up the point that we still do not have proof of long term effects of high frequency radio wave exposure.

That brings up another question - what frequency would this modulating charging wave be broadcasting at? Wi-Fi frequency or cellular, or something else entirely?

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The transmitter uses the 915-MHz ISM band to send RF energy to a tiny Powercast receiver chip embedded in a device, which converts it to direct current (DC) to directly power or recharge that device’s batteries.

915 MHz or similar band is license free in a lot of countries, but not all.