January 21, 2022

The Internet of Things Reaches Wireless, Touchless Power

The phenomenon of the internet of things (IoT) is gradually growing. Every object is becoming increasingly ‘smart’, which ranges from pet collars to home appliances. These are powered by different sensors, software, and technologies for communicating with other devices and users via the internet. This so-called physical web has an impressive business forecast. According to one study, there will be a 10% growth in the internet of things (IoT) in the next five years, which will help it achieve a market value of $1.39 billion. But, it does have a major hurdle that it needs to overcome and that is power.

When it comes to larger appliances, they have fixed physical locations, which gives them access to dedicated electrical connections. But, there are a number of IoT devices that depend on smaller batteries instead of a dedicated energy source. A study indicates that there will be around 41.6 billion IoT devices by 2025, which includes agricultural sensors and heart sensors and it is impractical to use wired power for these. This is where a smart power company named WiGL comes into the picture. Pronounced ‘wiggle’, this Wireless-electric Grid Local Air Networks) is a kind of wireless as well as touchless power.

Wireless power is already becoming widespread, as there are a number of watches, smartphones, and even rechargeable toothbrushes that no longer need cable charging. But, the capability of touchless power is entirely different, as it will deliver electricity through the air. This possibility is intriguing, but it does raise questions about the transmission safety and capacity, along with the implications this technology may have on the built environment. Based in Hampton, Va, WiGL claims that it operates in the same way as Wi-Fi. They convey radio frequency (RF) signals via the air and the difference is that WiGL it is delivering energy instead of information.

The technology utilizes RF electromagnetic radiation (EMR) and this is known for generating an electric field that is commonly seen in broadcast television as well as microwave ovens. WiGL technology uses the already existing WiFi standards and builds on them. The Wi-Fi transmission rate has been capped by the Federal Communications Commission at 1 watt and the frequency is 2.4 GHZ for maintaining safe exposure to RF. Since WiGL also sticks to this limit, it claims that its technology is safe for everyone. Therefore, it has to generate a low-level electric field. As RF tends to diminish with distance rapidly, the WiGL system has been developed as a transmitter array.

It forms a mesh network for delivering consistent power in a facility. When it comes to space, WiGL said that it is still experimenting and said that remains viable for 15 feet for now. Robert Rickard, the chief operating officer of WiGL said that when they comply with the 1-watt limit, they can only provide 10% to 25% of the recharging rate and power of a wired connection. This means it would take 10 times longer to recharge a smartphone in the WiGL field, but it will be charging continuously.

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