"We’re not in the coils game. We’re in radio frequency," Humavox CEO Omri Lachman told us. "Its characteristics give you a lot of freedom and releases setbacks like the need to align or couple the receiver and the transmitter. You have freedom to create, get rid of all inhibitions."
The Israeli company utilizes radio frequencies for wireless charging under its Eterna platform, where frequencies are transmitted and converted to DC voltage. The charge is converted by the company’s miniature antenna receiver, which is installed in a charging platform called Nest.
With Humavox’s technology, a signal broadcast at 2.4 GHz sends energy to the receiver, which pushes voltage to a management IC. Frequency transmission occurs in the industrial, scientific, and medical band, though Lachman said the company has engineered compliance with a "very, very broad spectrum of frequencies to transmit in, from single MHz to high range of GHz." The receiver operates at as low as 7 milliamps to support low-power devices such as hearing aids.
Humavox has marketed its technology with a primary focus on healthcare and elders — a huge market with no rechargeable capability due to age segment. Lachman said the winning technology in the wireless charging market will be the most intuitive. "The user doesn’t want to learn new tricks when it comes to operating their device, especially when it comes to charging. For us, intuitive is not resonance. It’s not having my device charge from nowhere, because nine out of 10 people don’t want waves or infrared or laser beams in their living room, office, airport."
In addition, he said RF will champion coil-based systems in the wearable Internet of Things realm, because of scalability. RF is more easily integrated into small devices than magnetic or resonance charging. However, there are no mass-market devices that feature radio frequency charging available today.
"Approaches using RF have been aimed at this market before, and first-generation solutions were not widely accepted," Sanderson said. "This doesn’t necessarily mean that we will not see them in the future."
Lachman said that he is skeptical about a single magnetic standard, and that the winning solution will integrate more than one power source. "We heard same promise [of standards] when WPC introduced Qi and Powermat was introduced, and now we’re hearing the same with resonance. Maybe it’s not going to be just radio frequency, but it has to be something — a receiving system that can be easily integrated in sense of form factor."
— Jessica Lipsky, Associate Editor, EE Times