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Free space wireless charging a smart cricket ball

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty


Designed to transform traditional into smart sporting equipment, Australia-based Sportcor’s embeddable electronics core contains movement sensors to deliver sports data analytics such as speed, distance, force, position, and spin. Powercast’s RF wireless power technology charges the battery over the air. The technology is being used by cricket ball manufacturer Kookaburra, whose Smart Ball needs no charging port so it remains balanced and its analytics data remains accurate. During a day of sports play the battery lasts about eight hours, and is recharged wirelessly over the air by placing the ball in its cradle. Powercast is planning a system that can recharge a bucket of smart balls simultaneously.

The company is also showing the first production units of the company’s own Wireless Charging Grip for Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Controllers, which Powercast plans to release on Amazon in Spring 2020, as well as a wireless luggage tag system being adopted by British Airways. 

“Powercast has had an exceptionally exciting year partnering with our OEM customers to bring real wireless power solutions to the consumer market, “ said Dr Charles Greene, chief operating and technical officer of Powercast, “and we’ve had a blast developing our own wirelessly rechargeable consumer product as well. Though we had hoped to ship our grip in Q3 2019, we’re excited to be back on track after some manufacturing delays to offer first production units this spring,” he said.

The Wireless Charging Grip automatically recharges over the air when placed within 50cm of Powercast’s FCC- and ISED-approved PowerSpot wireless power transmitter, achieving a full charge when left overnight. Heavier gamers place their grip closer to their PowerSpot transmitter and less frequent gamers can charge them within the 50cm range. The Powerharvester receiver harnesses RF energy sent over the air from the PowerSpot transmitter, converts it to direct current to charge the grip’s embedded battery, which then charges the connected Joy-Con batteries. Using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) for intelligent wireless charging, the grip requests power from the transmitter only when its batteries are low, and signals it to stop when charged. A multi-colour LED blinks to show charging speed and blinks green when fully charged.

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