Despite the advent of wifi technology which has made staying connected a much more elegant, wire-free affair, we are still tethered by the ever-present power cord. Just about everyone who has traveled with electronics has cursed the forgotten power cord, and probably thrice cursed the tangled knot of cords they did remember to bring. Induction charging has attempted to answer this nagging first-world issue, but adoption of the technology has been slow, and it hasn’t conquered the primary complaint: your devices are tethered not with physical wires this time, but by the need for contact with the induction surface.
Enter surprise start-up Ossia and their product, Cota. Making their debut at the TechCrunch Disrupt13 conference, Ossia founder and physicist Hatem Zeine has developed a technology dubbed “Cota” that can safely power devices wirelessly, at a distance and through walls. The technology is still in the prototype phase and is slowly making its way through the FCC approval process, but Zeine was able to provide a live, on-stage demonstration of an unmodified iPhone being charged wirelessly from the prototype at a distance of several feet. The company’s initial foray into production is aimed at industrial applications where wireless power delivery is a top priority, such as powering remote sensors in a refinery, where electrical sparks are a constant worry. Ossia aims to to have a consumer product by 2015, which is envisioned to consist of a charging station approximately the size of a desktop tower PC, and will be partnered with a variety of receiving platforms such as built-in electronics, battery replacements and add-on receivers for legacy devices.
What this means for you:
We’ve a bit of a wait until the Cota arrives for consumers, but given the world’s aggressive adoption of mobile electronics and fondness for wireless aesthetics, it’s likely that even if Ossia fails, other companies will rise to the challenge. According to Zeine, the technology is as safe as current Wifi technology probably permeating your house and office right now, as it works in the same frequency spectrum. Whether or not you believe that platform to have any health implications is probably moot if you live or work in any urban first-world environment, as you are “soaking in it” as we speak. Assuming the health question is resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, Zeine is predicting a complete paradigm shift in how we look at mobile technology, envisioning a world without batteries and the concept of “charging” made obsolete by an omnipresent power source. Are you ready to ditch the power cords? It may be coming sooner than you think!