Powercast, Powermat team up to target broad spectrum of needs

Powercast and Powermat Technologies, both major players in the world of wireless power charging, and both of whom have won Best of Sensors awards at the Sensors Converge event in recent years, will be visiting this year’s Sensor Converge with some big news to discuss: They are partnering up to work together to address the market’s broad range of wireless power needs.

The companies’ respective technologies differ in strength and transfer distance, so matching Powercast’s long-range over-the-air RF technology and Powermat’s SmartInductive hybrid inductive/resonance technology will create one team that can implement both short-range and long-range wireless power designs optimized for each customer's application. For instance, while Powercasts’s RF transmitters and receivers can transfer power over distances of up to 120 feet, it delivers relatively low power levels ranging from hundreds of milliwatts to single digit microwatts, depending on distance. 

Powercast's RF technology is designed for one-to-many charging of low-power consumer and industrial devices in hard-to-reach locations, such as IoT sensor networks where wiring and battery replacement would be difficult. Additional device examples include home automation sensor networks, TV remotes, electric toothbrushes, headphones and smart watches.

Meanwhile, Powermat’s SmartInductive transmitters and receivers need to be in close proximity with one another–8 inches or less–but they can transfer larger amounts of power (5 watts to 600 watts). That fits industrial grade applications like telecom, robotics, micro-mobility, medical devices, and more.

As part of the collaboration, the partners also will leverage Powercast's engineering and productization services to support customers as needed from proof of concept to prototyping to production, the new teammates said.

"The convenience of a one-stop-wireless-power-shop has not existed before," said Charles Goetz, CEO of Powercast. "First, since our partnership covers the entire spectrum of wireless power, customers can ditch researching solutions themselves and relax knowing we'll recommend the best fit for them. Second, whether you're a start-up or Fortune 500, our productization team can help reduce costs and speed time to market."

"Our IP licensing business model has been successful as our technology is embedded in 800 million smartphones and charging surfaces in 8 million cars, and in 40 million devices like robots, e-bikes, and IoT and medical devices," said Kfir Abuhatzira, Powermat's CEO. "But we are excited to be able to expand our services by partnering with Powercast whose dedicated design, engineering and manufacturing division can help customers wanting productization support."   

Commenting to Fierce Electronics via email, Goetz and Dr. Charles Greene, Powercast's CTO/COO, elaborated on future opportunities, saying their are individual customers who could have needs for wireless charging at a variety of distances, and that new applications could continue to evolve.:

“One universal transmitter with both Powermat’s SmartInductive and Powercast’s RF technology built in could charge high-power enabled devices like phones by placing them on the transmitter, while also charging low-power enabled devices over distance, such as wearables placed near the transmitter and sensors installed up to 120 feet away," Greene stated.

Goetz added, "Another example would be retail robotics. An autonomous robot would charge using Powermat’s high-power solution. That robot could then travel a store and use RF from industry-standard RFID readers to power up ESLs or sensors embedded with Powercast’s RF harvesting chips."

Goetz also said the new partners were on friendly terms even before their official team-up. “We recognized each other as the pioneers in our areas with best-in-class technologies, so we often referred customers to the other when an application was a better fit for the other. So, we finally teamed up to make it easier, creating one entity customers can call that can do it all," he said. "Today most applications fall into one bucket or the other. But as time goes by, we anticipate this partnership enabling dual functionality and hybrid solutions.”

At Sensors Converge, which takes in Santa Clara, California June 20-22, you can find Powercast at Booth #840 and Powermat at Booth #805.