Dialog backs Energous for free space wireless charging

November 08, 2016 // By Nick Flaherty
Dialog Semiconductor is backing a new entrant to wireless charging with a $10m investment.

Energous is the developer of WattUp, a new wireless charging technology that provides over-the-air power at a distance. Alongside the $10m investment in Energous, Dialog will be the exclusive component supplier of the WattUp chips while Energous use Dialog’s sales and distribution channels.

WattUp uses RF frquencies to send power in a similar way to a Wi-Fi router and technology from startup Radient Micro-tech, and is a director of the AirFuel Alliance, which competes with the WirelessPower Consortium (WPC) that develops the Qi technology. The company raised $20m earlier this year.

Like Radient, WattUp differs from inductive or resonant wireless charging systems in that it delivers power at a distance, to multiple devices, in any orientation, resulting in wire-free charging. It uses Dialog’s SmartBond Bluetooth low energy solution as the out-of-band communications channel between the wireless transmitter and receiver and Dialog’s power management technology is then used to distribute power from the WattUp receiver IC to the rest of the device while Dialog’s AC/DC Rapid Charge power conversion technology delivers power to the wireless transmitter. 

WattUp uses small form factor antennas that are formed using the existing device’s printed circuit board, removing the need for larger, more expensive coils used in competing solutions today. This enables broader adoption of wireless charging in a larger range of battery-powered devices, such as smartphones, tablets, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, small form factor wearables, and Virtual Reality (VR)/Augmented Reality (AR) devices.  Energous hopes to tap Dialog's existing cutomers to grow the business.