Tech company to introduce wireless mobile device charging

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) -- Cell phones and other mobile devices are part of our everyday existence, as have the ways people try to keep them charged. But San Jose tech company Energous wants to end your dependency on wired chargers with its wire-free charging technology, Wattup. 

"The idea is that when you walk into a room, we charge your device automatically. You don't have to go search for an outlet. You don't have to put it on a pad," said Energous founder Michael Leabman.

Two and half years ago, the company began creating transmitters and receivers -- some of which are smaller than a dime -- to put into products we all use in our everyday life. The devices can be placed inconspicuously in speakers, TV's, and cellphones.

"The energy comes from the wall, goes into our transmitter and then gets formed around the receiver devices, explained Leabman. We're not creating energy here we're just transferring it efficiently. 

The technology is similar to how Wi-Fi automatically connects to your device, so it doesn't matter if the phone is in your pocket or on a table.  As long as it's within 15 feet of the transmitter it will start charging over a five gigahertz band. 

Similar to those used by Wi-Fi routers, the transmitter sends a pocket of energy around the device's receiver.

"So each device really gets its own power centralized around it. Once you get beyond 12 devices, then we'll actually prioritize and chose which device gets power when," said Leabman

Users control how that works from their fingertips, whether it's by using a tablet or desktop. Wattup uses Bluetooth technology to manage the devices, so it knows what needs to be charged.

"As it finds the different devices over Bluetooth it will start charging one at a time.  It takes a little bit of time goes to the cloud takes a second of two then talks to our transmitter and then finds these devices," said Leabman.

One drawback the length it takes to get a full charge.  What may usually take 45 minutes to an hour could take twice as long because Energous charges the device at a constant trickle.  That is something Leabman says should address the concerns of those worried about receiving power over the airwaves. 

"It's not broadcasting like Wi-Fi. It's not going everywhere in the room.  It really is focused individual on each of these receiver devices," said Leabman. 

Although the future is now, Wattup technology will not be available for public consumption until end of 2016 or early 2017.