CES 2015: WattUp can wirelessly charge gadgets without needing a charging pad

Wireless charging is a bit of a misnomer, because sticking your gadgets onto a charging pad is basically the same as plugging them in — albeit slightly less fiddly. Energous isn’t happy with that and it claims its new tech can charge gadgets sitting up to 20 feet away, no wires necessary.

It’s called WattUp, and it’s a transmitter that uses a mix of RF and Bluetooth to charge gadgets. The Bluetooth is used to communicate with the gadgets themselves, and once a connection has been established WattUp sends out focused RF signals using Wi-Fi frequencies. Those signals are then absorbed by a chip embedded within a device and converted into DC power.

The process is called rectification, and Energous’s application of it runs at around 70 per cent efficiency. Apparently that means a single transmitter will be able to charge a smartphone and a wearable at the same time without issue.

The WattUp is similar to a Wi-Fi router in many respects. Not only does it look like one, if you have more than one transmitter in the immediate area, your gadgets will automatically connect to the transmitter offering the strongest signal. Plus, it’s clever in that it actually prioritises power to gadgets that are running low on juice.

The only real problem is that no devices actually include the appropriate tech to allow this kind of wireless charging. That said, if Energous’s claims are accurate, then it won’t be long before manufacturers start offering it as a feature.

Imagine a world where you never have to plug your phone in or take your smartwatch off? What a time to be alive.

This week we’re bringing you all the latest news, videos and gossip from CES 2015 in Las Vegas. Check out the CES 2015 page to keep up to date and subscribe to our YouTube channel to see hands-on news with our editor Holly Brockwell from the show floor.

Tom Pritchard