Energous, the developer of WattUp — the world’s first wire-free charger approved by the Federal Communications Commission — just announced its first collection of consumer-ready products Monday at CES.
The first WattUp-enabled consumer product will launch with Energous’s partner Myant by mid-year. It’s been dubbed SKIIN smart everyday apparel. The Energous team tells Inverse that this represents a first step to make wireless charging accessible for everyone.
“We are paving the way for Wireless Charging 2.0, the next-generation wireless charging ecosystem where consumers can charge their devices both at contact and at-a-distance,” Stephen R. Rizzone, president and CEO of Energous, tells Inverse. “At CES, we will be showcasing the first fully commercialized, WattUp enabled Near Field products to be made available to consumers in the coming months.”
The WattUp-enabled underwear is said to accurately measure and track health and will be sold with the WattUp receiver technology, which will be embedded into the smart sensor. Energous says the smart apparel collection will also support charging at a distance from future WattUp Mid Field and Far Field transmitters, meaning users can benefit from the smart underwear’s health information without having to worry about charging.
For Tony Chahine, CEO and Founder of Myant, that’s a big part of the underwear’s appeal.
“It is important to me that advancements in innovation reach everyone, including the elderly, the sick and children,” Chahine says. “The seemingly simple action of plugging, unplugging and manually charging could alone be the very thing that will inhibit a user from benefiting from technology. This why we chose to integrate the Energous’ WattUp wireless charging.”
The CES presentation will also feature a full setup of WattUp devices, including the recently FCC-certified wireless charger under Part 18 of the Commission’s rules. Rizzone adds that Energous’ partnerships with both software and hardware entities will help bring wireless, at-distance charging to the masses.
The CES preview comes on the heels of last month’s Energeous FCC news.
“Untethered, wire-free charging — such as charging a fitness band even while wearing it — is exactly what consumers have been waiting for,” Rizzone said of the certification back then. “We are now in a position to move our consumer electronics, [the Internet-of-Things] and smart home customers forward at an accelerated pace.”
The San Jose-based startup hopes to make wireless charging the standard. Whether it’s for seamlessly charging a friend group’s phone batteries or a classroom’s tablets, it’s clear the FCC finds value in wireless chargers such as the WattUp.
The newly-announced WattUp devices are set to be released later this year in Asia and the U.S.