Wireless power development kit targets wearables

20th November 2017
Caroline Hayes


Designed to help manufacturers to design and deploy smart, connected devices that use its wireless power technology, Powercast has introduced a development kit, which includes boards in typical device shapes (wristbands, smart cards).

The P1110-EVB includes its FCC-approved Powercaster transmitter, battery recharging, a Powerharvester evaluation board, Powerharvester receiving antennae, two Bluetooth Low Energy radio boards, and a PowerSpot transmitter.

The Powercaster transmitter targets commercial and industrial wearables, smart cards, and sensor applications, enabling a wireless powering range of one to 80-feet (approximately 25m), depending on the end device and application.

Wireless recharging can allow hermetically-sealed, washable wearables like heated jackets and illuminated safety vests to recharge while hanging in a closet. It can also be used to make smart bands reusable, for theme parks and events. They can also be designed to include display interaction or audible messages that would normally drain batteries. Another benefit of wireless charging is to eliminate the need for battery replacement in access control smart cards.

The PowerSpot transmitter is a sub-assembly, intended to be embedded so that the product becomes a sources of wireless power and able to automatically charge multiple devices around them, explained Charles Greene, chief operating officer, chief technology officer at Powercast.

He explained that, using the PowerSpot standalone transmitter, PowerCast-enabled devices placed within range could be wireless charged, without charging mats. For example, a clothes rack could recharge garments that have wearable technology, or a box on a table could recharge computer keyboards and mice, and games controllers.

The company's patented wireless power technology uses a transmitter to send RF energy to the Powerharvester embedded in a device, which converts it to DC (with up to 75% efficiency) to directly power that device or recharge its batteries.

The PCC110 Powerharvester chip operates across down to -17dBm and 10MHz to 6GHz frequency range. It is claimed to maintain high conversion efficiency amid changing parameters like distance and state of battery charge. The technology is designed and tested to meet both US and global standards for user safety and device interference.

The development kit includes iOS and Android apps. Attaching Bluetooth Low Energy radio boards to the wristband or credit card battery recharging boards allows developers to transmit measured charge current and battery voltage via Bluetooth Low Energy live, for cable-free monitoring.  Both configurations can be tested simultaneously on recharging boards.

The kit is available through distributors Mouser, Arrow, and Future Electronics.

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