Startup Humavox Unveils Wireless Charging Via Radio Frequency
Humavox this week unveiled Eterna, a new platform that uses RF signals to wirelessly power the Internet of Things, especially medical and wearable devices such as hearing aids, smart watches and augmented-reality glasses.
Tue, December 10, 2013
Computerworld — Israeli start-up Humavox has announced a new hardware platform that uses radio frequency (RF) to transmit power wirelessly to mobile devices.
Humavox's Eterna platform is aimed at making it simpler to charge wearable devices such as hearing aids, smartwatches and augmented reality glasses.
The wireless charging market - small as it is -- is dominated by companies that today offer products that use electromagnetic fields to create a link to transfer power without cords. As of yet, the marketplace has not settled on an industry standard, though groups have taken positions behind several specifications.
Humavox's Eterna hardware platform will be sold as intellectual property to device manufacturers so they can integrate the company's wireless charging element using whatever method works best for them, according to Omri Lachman, founder and CEO of Israel Humavox.
The Humavox technology consists of a "NEST" Station -- a design-free RF resonator that charges devices put inside it, with no placement or orientation requirements. The NEST (i.e., like a bird's nest) prototype created by Humavox is a white, plastic ball that can be opened to reveal a small charging bowl.
Lachman said the device should be able to charge an enabled product in about the same time as with a charging cord. In tests, the technology's charging efficiency "rarely drops below 90%," he said, referring to the amount of power lost in the wireless transfer.
Humavox's other enabling technology is ThunderLink, a wireless charging receiver that integrates with a device in a variety of technologies, from PC boards to aftermarket mobile device sleeves to full ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) integration, meaning there is virtually no engineering required by manufacturers, Lachman said.
Humavox's NEST Station wireless charging prototype.
"Our key guideline was to create an effortless and seamless experience for users and manufacturers. We wanted to make charging as simple as dropping a product in a box," Lachman said. "We wanted to take charging from being an oppressive action...for some users to an intuitive action."
Lachman compared his company's RF charging technology to magnetic resonance and inductive charging techniques, saying the latter is more difficult to integrate into mobile products.
"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," he said. "The simple way to illustrate how RF charging works is that it's very similar to how a Wi-Fi router works.