After years of plugging in, the long wait is almost over. Future wireless technology is on the horizon and if you read below. I’ll explain the one company that I believe may bring it to the world. They are not the only solution in this space. However, this is my pick.
Like all consumers, we are dependent on our mobile devices.
Air pods. Hearing aids. Smartwatches. Mobile Phones. E-Readers. The list continues to grow!
We are endlessly in search of an outlet to stay charged, mainly when we travel or at a conference or even out for a long day shopping.
I carry a huge battery bank in my rucksack. For many of us, power is everything. My phone I know, it is getting old, and it can’t last more than two-thirds of a day if I am careful what Apps I use. We do not have enough power storage anymore. We are all desperate for a solution to become untethered from a power source.
Back in 1891, the great Nikola Tesla invented a way to transmit energy wirelessly. That was a long, long time ago! Now from those experiments, we have that way forward opened up for us.
Introducing Energous Corp (Ticker symbol WATT)
Energous Corporation has developed an award-winning, wire-free charging technology called ‘WattUp’. In their own words, it “will transform the way consumers and industries charge and power electronic devices at home, in the office, in the car and beyond.” 1
Energous Corporation went public in March 2014. It was previously known as DvineWave Inc., founded back in 2012. They have had a few capital raises. They have a partnership with Dialog Semiconductor, a semiconductor manufacturer, who has also invested $25M in two separate investments.
- They have money.
- They have products under the banner “WattUp”.
- They have reference designs.
- They have a semiconductor partner Dialog Semiconductor.
- They have a tier 1 supplier of consumer goods (unknown).
- They are one big win away from significant price appreciation.
So what on earth is WattUp?
WattUp can charge your gadgets with no wires!
Reading the literature, you will be able to transmit charge at a power level 1 to 1.5 watts at 15 feet away (4.5 metres).
There are three products at the moment which are set to power our future.
The Far Field WATTUP® Transmitter can wirelessly transmit energy up to 15 feet (~4.5 metres) away from the transmitter!
Just think multiple electronic devices within that 30-foot diameter being drip charged, so you may never have to be worried about running out of batteries again. It uses radiofrequency (RF) to charge devices. Delivered via radio bands, it’s very similar to a Wi-Fi signal. It has scalable power and an example of disruptive technology.
The Far Field WATTUP® Transmitter – The future of wireless technology. ++
Take a moment. Imagine your mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, wearables! Think about moving speakers in the room without the worry of rerouting cables! Think about how many batteries you have to replace to keep your kids toy car powered! Even the security cameras and smoke detectors will never have to have the battery changed! Everything that is mobile or hard to get at and needs energy is a potential target for this company!
They can be all drip charging while you sit in front of the TV, or while in bed at night sleeping. Imagine your phone or watch charging while you are in the office, the train station, or even at the airport.
Battery packs maybe become the dinosaur in the room. These will only be needed when you are out in a tent, 10 miles from the nearest plug socket unless you bring a solar-powered WattUp device with you. Maybe I should patent that idea. I’ve not seen that on their patent list yet.
Many people at CES have demoed the product and can confirm that the technology does in fact work. In other words, it’s not a science project. It is a reality.
The Mid-Field WATTUP® Transmitter ++
The Mid-Field WATTUP® Transmitter is your desktop charging unit, which will charge devices up to 3 feet away.
Your phone, smartwatch, wireless headphones, external speaker, wireless keyboard, and wireless mouse all charging while you work, even while you are off having coffee with a friend or you go home from the office at night.
Imagine The Mid-Field WATTUP® Transmitter put into a car! Your phone will continue to charge, your smartwatch after a run in the park will start to recharge! The kids, watching cartoons on their tablets in the back, will no longer argue over the cable and whom will use the 12 Volt power supply. Everyone will get a charge while you are on the road. That has to be safer. Moreover, much less of a headache for the parents.
The Near-Field WATTUP® Transmitter ++
The Near-Field WATTUP® Transmitter. Your small electronics can be instantly charging while you are on your travels.
These can be discreet chargers or embedded into laptops and game consoles. Imagine your kids have a game console and wireless headphones that never need charging!
Alternatively, you are travelling, and you don’t have a charger for your watch, earphones or even your hearing aid. No problem, rest them next to your laptop.
So How Do They Transmit and Received Energy?
This future wireless technology can track devices, so it can provide energy to moving objects. You can forget about having to run upstairs to put your phone on a charging pad, WattUp could give passive charging while the phone remains in your pocket. Think about it; anything that connects via Bluetooth is a potential target! From a Go-Pro camera, alarm system sensors and video controllers, the options are endless.
You can integrate the wireless charging transmitter into a wireless router, PCs and TVs. I’m sure they are probably working on a fridge design. Imagine the cool weighing scales, that you take out of the cupboard once in a blue moon to bake a cake fully charged; you won’t have to spend 10 minutes looking for the correct sized batteries.
We may see standalone transmitters and integrated routers in the next year!
For your device to receive a charge, it must include a receiver chip. The receivers are only 3mmx3mm, so this could potentially be manufactured directly into a phone’s existing Bluetooth chip. What does that mean? Manufacturers are not losing lots of real estate to incorporate the receivers, and therefore it will be cheap to implement and make their products much more appealing.
As Energous say themselves:
The entire WattUp® wire-free charging process is software controlled when using a Midsize or Full-Size WattUp transmitter. Using either our app or cloud-based web portal, you can identify which devices you want to receive power, how much power to send to each device, and even at what times you want them charging.1
For example, the software can detect when a device is fully charged. That way, the transmitter won’t keep needlessly charging devices. Instead, it can allocate the power to another device.
This software platform ensures only the right gadgets are charging when you need them charged.
Some of the software features include:
- You decide which electronics get high priority, so they charge first.
- It works out how much power needs directing to each device.
- You set the minimum power level.
- You decide what time of the day you would like specific devices charged.
- Once you set up a device, that’s it. The transmitter will see your device and decide if you need power from the settings you have made.
- Another cool feature is that it will find public WattUp locations on a map, including whether they are free or paid systems.
Just think every Coffee shop, train station or airport could have a free and paid services! Imagine a free mini charge with every Cappuccino.
Is It Safe?
One concern raised by many of my friends is about the power delivery safety. A few people have asked, “Will it fry me while I sleep?”. Of course, I could not just rely on the company’s press releases, so I did a little digging.
Since I invested years ago, I have lost much of the info I had back then. Please understand, this is my take on it, and it may be right or wrong. Read the associated attachments and do your research. Also, if you are an RF expert have a look at the product and let me know your thoughts or can help me put some better understand about RF power and it’s safety, I would appreciate it.
So to put it in context I want to share my thoughts here. 1st of all I want you to understand what WiFi is. Most people know that WiFi is how you connect to the internet. However, “Wi-Fi is essentially two radios communicating back and forth that use lower power and broadcast over a much shorter distance.”4
Power over RF is very similar. Let’s take the cell phone analogy:
The output power at the transmitter could be 2 kilowatts, while the signal level at a phone’s antennae could be in the region of 5 picowatts.
So the further the distance from the power source the lower the power.
The measurement of Signal Strength (or power density) is in Microwatts/Square centimetre (µW/cm2). The example below is given in “Understanding Radio-Frequency and Health Impacts”5 and demonstrates how power reduces over distance. It was published in 2011 by the California Council on Science and Technology 3 shows the following.
As power source emits energy from a source, the drop off is quite severe.
- 8.8 µW/cm2 @ 1 foot (30 cm)
- 1.0 µW/cm2 @ 3 feet (1m)
- 0.1 µW/cm2 @ 10 foot (3m)
We also know that the power is not continuously on for the Watt Up transmitter/receiver pair.
Thermal limits have an FCC “margin of safety” limit of 50 times lower than the hazardous exposure level. To calibrate yourself the smart meters in the graph below, usually, operate at 70 times less than the FCC limit and 3500 times less than the demonstrated hazard level. 3
The chart below shows cell phone connecting power and the WiFi router power. My guess WATT UP should somewhere between them, although I could be wrong on this point
Current Notifications from Energous on Safety
In November 2015, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) validated the performance of WattUp wire-free charging from Energous Corporation.
On Dec 26 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) certified the first-generation WattUp Mid Field transmitter. The transmitter sends a focused, RF-based power to devices at a distance.
- The RF energy exposure is virtually zero when devices are not charging. When devices are charging, RF exposure is much less than any regulated limits.
- It is my understanding that each manufacturer that incorporates this technology will have to go through the same process. However, the path has now been set out for new suppliers. There are guidelines in place.
In April this year, the FCC passed the WattUp Near Field transmitter, running at 900 MHz.
In May this year, the EU gave the CE mark for the Near Field transmitter, running at 900 MHz.
Products are starting to materialise. By the end of this year, or into mid-next year, we should see substantial progress.
Is it time to get back into Energous Corp (WATT)?
Full disclosure here, I sold my stock when the price went above $32 in December last year and quite a few options. I am here to make money after all. However, I have started to accumulate again and buying LEAP options expiring in 2020 as I believe the company will have a big announcement this year or maybe next. If there are any delays, the long-time delay builds in some protection for me.
I also think there is a possibility that Dialog Semiconductor could buy Energous. Any buyout may happen once Energous has a significant success or when WiFi charging goes mainstream. Reading Dialog Semiconductors reports and sales items, I get the feeling that Energous wireless charging solution will become an integral part of the company offerings.
Investment in WATT is not without risks. The biggest concern here will be proving that WattUp is safe.
On a regulatory front, the company must seek FCC Part 15 and 18 approvals for the Far Field WATTUP® Transmitter.
They are fully confident that they will achieve this, although it is taking longer than I thought it would. However, Energous are on track with the timeline they set out a couple of years ago when they reset their schedule. But now and then I see the dates pushed within their boundary time lines.
Part 15 relates to interference and the specific absorption rate (SAR) of the RF technology. Written specifications exist for Part 15, and based on preliminary calculations; the company doesn’t foresee any problems in gaining approval as they already have support for the Near field and Mid Field.
Part 18 required for any device that transmits more than one watt of power. Energous had the internationally recognised testing firm UL test and performed many actions, which showed the product was safe.
When and if I get additional feedback from the company, or I find the right documentation I will share this with you.
For mass adoption, the public will need to be convinced. There will have to be white papers and case studies showing the results of these studies.
From a risk to reward scenario I believe that Energous is a good bet on the future and I intend to hold shares over the long term.
Please leave a comment below. I’d like to hear from people to understand their thoughts on this company.
++ Photos by kind permission of Energous
The information in this article is compiled solely to create a thesis for investing in Energous.
All statements and figures are personal assumptions based on available public data. They are subject to change as more detailed data is received, if a more detailed analysis is performed, or due to other factors.
Phil Hudson does not offer personal financial advice or advocate the purchase or sale of any security or investment for any specific individual. Investors should be aware that investment markets have inherent risks and there can be no guarantee of future profits.
You should consult your investment advisor and review any documentation including financial statements before investing in any company I discuss.