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Your next fridge could charge all your mobile devices

Lucas Mearian | Oct. 28, 2014
Home appliance maker Haier announced today that it has signed a joint development agreement with Energous, creator of the WattUp wireless router that sends power in a 15-ft. radius using radio frequency transmissions.

Wireless charging over distance is nothing new, but most other technologies use magnetic resonance for power transfers. For example, WiTricity has been licensing its charging technology for use in appliances and the automotive industry.

Nick Spencer, a senior director at ABI Research, said the primary concern government regulators will likely have with wireless charging technology is that it could potentially waste electricity. On average, 40% of the electricity sent from a utility's grid into a home is wasted as it moves through various transformers. That loss is greater with wireless charging systems.

To date, however, Haier is the largest of appliance makers to move toward embedding the wireless charging technology. With it included in appliances, users of mobile devices and wearables won't have to think about charging cords or pads. The devices will simply begin charging when they're in range of a WattUp router.

"I see huge potential for [Energous' technology], as long as it can be proven to work," said Ryan Sanderson, an analyst at IHS. "We're seeing a huge increase in wearables. And the key thing about wearables is that if you have to take them off every day, it becomes a pain. From a consumer point of view, that will be the one thing that makes or breaks that industry."


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