Powercast Corporation announced that its radio-frequency (RF)-based long-range over-the-air wireless power technology has received three new certifications from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – totaling seven since 2007 – adding retail applications to the company’s existing FCC approvals for deployments in consumer, commercial and industrial environments.
Powercast’s technology works in the far field to charge multiple devices over the air, without range limitations from the FCC, and without wires, charging mats or direct line of sight needed.
Two of Powercast’s three new certifications clear updated versions of its FCC-Part-15-approved PowerSpot® and Powercaster® far-field transmitters, now under FCC Part 18, to provide wireless power over distance in on-shelf retail applications. Examples include wirelessly illuminated product packaging, interactive end cap displays, and electronic paper displays (EPD) such as electronic shelf-edge labels.
The Part-18-approved transmitters can provide continuous power to many devices, such as Powercast’s Batteryless RFID Retail Price Tag with an E Ink screen, launched in 2018 at RFID Journal LIVE. Retailers can place a Powercast wireless power transmitter on a shelf to power electronic marketing features like illumination, sound, or color changes that are designed into packaging or displays to showcase products on a shelf.
Retailers can also use these transmitters to charge or directly power any enabled consumer devices that they place on the shelf for sale, such as smart watches, headphones, or computer peripherals, ensuring customers go home with their new devices fully charged and ready to use.
These updated, Part-18-approved transmitters (FCC IDs: YESTX91513 and YESTX91511B) use, respectively, Powercast’s existing PowerSpot and Powercaster three-watt (EIRP) hardware platforms with modified firmware. They are therefore available immediately from Powercast, and in the coming weeks from distributors Mouser, Digikey, and Arrow Electronics (TX91513 for $99, TX91511B for $280).
Powercast worked with the FCC to gain these additional Part 18 approvals as part of its partnership with PPG. The companies are jointly developing ultra-thin and wirelessly powered printed electronics products that provide indefinite illumination and other electronic marketing features without wires, batteries, charging ports or contact with a power source.
The third new FCC approval is a re-certification under Part 15 of Powercast’s original Powercaster transmitter (FCC ID: YES TX91501B), which has been redesigned with updated components to enable large-scale manufacturing.
Powercast’s history totaling four Part 18 and three Part 15 FCC approvals:
Powercast was the very first to receive FCC approval for long-range RF wireless power transmission, in 2007 under Part 18, for a wirelessly lit Christmas tree sold through retailer Frontgate. A Part-18-approved development kit followed in 2008. Powercast’s first Powercaster RF transmitter, compact in size for affordability, gained Part 15 approval in 2010 for industrial and commercial applications, and has since been powering IoT and industrial sensors, waterproof designs, military devices and other devices that would otherwise be limited by wires or battery maintenance. Powercast then developed its even smaller PowerSpot RF transmitter to power consumer electronics devices, gaining Part 15 approval in 2017.
“We are proud to announce our fifth, sixth, and seventh long-range wireless power FCC approvals,” said Charles Greene, Ph.D., chief operating and technical officer of Powercast. “From our first Part 18 far-field approval in 2007, we have worked with our customers to provide deployable solutions that meet their real-world requirements.”
Greene continued, “We’ve enjoyed working with the FCC over the years to bring tangible RF wireless power to various applications, and now to on-shelf retail applications. We have a great relationship with the FCC because of our no-nonsense approach to deploying effective RF wireless power solutions. The FCC has never restricted the distance over which our technology can operate, differentiating it from other wireless power-over-distance technologies. Powercast plans to maintain our approach as we continue to lead the deployments of RF wireless power.”
About Powercast’s remote wireless charging technology:
Creating a coverage area similar to Wi-Fi, Powercast’s RF wireless power transmitters automatically power enabled products that come within range for smart, carefree wireless charging. Charging range and rate depend on a device’s power consumption; power-hungry products charge best at close range, while the transmitters can power low-power devices such as sensors up to 80 feet (24 meters).
The transmitters use the 915-MHz ISM band to send RF energy over the air to Powercast’s tiny Powerharvester® receiver chip embedded in products, which converts it to usable direct current to either directly power batteryless devices, or recharge devices’ batteries. The robust technology complies with the FCC’s current one-watt power limit for Part 15 deployments, but has power capabilities well beyond that to evolve as FCC standards evolve.