Friday, October 06, 2017

Adventure Tech: Cota Wireless Power System Looks to Revolutionize Base Camp Forever

I've talked about wireless charging before on The Adventure Blog, mostly in reference to how it can be used to charge a smartphone. That technology remains in its infancy however, and as I've mentioned in past articles, it won't become true wireless charging until our devices can collect energy just by being within range of an outlet. But, a start-up called Ossia is looking to change that, and it not only hopes to revolutionize the way we charge our devices at home, but at our campsites as well.

Ossia has already developed a product called Cota, which is a system that has the ability to charge devices remotely using radio waves in the 2.45 gigahertz spectrum. Cota actually works similarly to a WiFi router, with a receiver first sending out a signal to ping the power transmitter. When that connection is made, the transmitter than calculates where the device is located and sends radio waves back to it. Those waves are converted into power (up to 1 watt) that the receiver can use to charge a gadget. The energy that is transmitted is at a low wattage and radiation level, and doesn't pass through people or animals.

The Cota receivers can be embedded into a variety of items, including a smartphone case, an external battery pack, or even a device itself. When activated, it in a sense eliminates the need to ever plug your device in, delivering a charge at all times while within range.

This system is already past the R&D stage and has moved on to commercial development, with finalized equipment scheduled to ship sometime in late 2018. Once it is out there, it could truly change the way we keep our devices powered while at home or the office.


But, what does this all have to do with the outdoor space? Ossia is also thinking of ways to use this charging system in other places than just the home. In fact, it has dreamed up some concepts for the outdoors that include not just recharging mobile devices on the go, but also powering lighting systems, stoves, refrigerated coolers, and more. The company is examining ways that Cota could power smart boots, fitness trackers, heated clothing, and other items as well.

Obviously the transmitter and its various receivers are too big to carry on a simple backpacking trip, but it would work well in a Base Camp environment or ski/trekking huts. If the transmitter could be hooked up to solar panels, it would provide an easy and convenient way to charge a wide variety of devices.

They system is still about a year off from being released of course, so it'll take some time for this to catch on. But, it certainly would be nice to be able wander back within range of the transmitter, either at home or at camp, and have your smartphone automatically start gathering a charge.

You can find out more about this technology in the video below and at ossia.com.


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