Is your cellphone battery always low? You’re not alone.
Enter Wi-Charge, a long-range wireless charging company dedicated to using infrared light to continuously power wireless devices – from cellphones and laptops to faucets and hand-sanitizing dispensers. Wi-Charge is also working on clinical trials with Sheba Medical Center to kill virus particles using infrared light.
I asked Ori Mor, co-founder and vice president of R&D at Wi-Charge, to tell me about the company, which is a two-time CES Innovation Award Winner. Mor is also the recipient of the Israeli National Security Award, which is one of the most prestigious awards in the Israeli defense establishment.
Bracha: Can you explain how Wi-Charge works?
Ori: Light can carry power. We know this from solar panels on roofs that convert sunlight into electricity. This is the effect for which Einstein got his Nobel Prize.
Wi-Charge does something similar. We have an invisible infrared light source that is mounted on the wall or the ceiling. In contrast to the sun that emits light in every direction, our device sends a very directional beam to the client device.
Meanwhile, in the client device, a solar panel converts this infrared light into electricity and charges it. This way, we move energy from one place to another over the air.
What was the inspiration behind Wi-Charge?
As corny as it might sound: traveling around the world with a smartphone and worrying about battery life. In addition, I wanted to find out if wireless power can really be done, and if yes, I wanted to find the best way to do it and bring this revolution from Israel.
Wi-Charge has a range of products for Covid. Can you tell us about them?
The touchless devices – such as faucets, flush valves, and hand sanitizers – are booming post-Covid.
Since these devices now have unlimited power, they can offer a new and elevated functionality. For example, they are now able to monitor the usage profile and give reports. Do kids at school actually wash their hands and, if they do, is it for one or two seconds?
This is relevant for offices, restaurant personnel, hospitals, and the like. Unlimited power also allows the device to educate people with visual feedbacks and embedded screens on how to properly wash their hands. After all, the CDC and WHO are saying to wear a mask and wash your hands properly – with an emphasis on properly.
Can you tell us about the current clinical trials Wi-Charge is conducting with Sheba, one of Israel’s largest medical centers?
While bored in lock down, we discovered that, by using infrared light, we can disinfect surfaces from a distance. It turns out Sheba liked this concept very much, but it wasn’t enough for us. We are a wireless power company and wanted to bring in a leader that can bring this solution to the market. I’m happy to say a tier-1 leading company in this field is now joining the effort.
Are there any products Wi-Charge does not work with?
We are focused on battery-operated devices, such as consumer, commercial, or medical devices. Wi-Charge is not used for high power electronics such as EVs or ovens.
Where can people purchase Wi-Charge products?
We do not sell directly to consumers. We are a building block, like the Intel chip inside a computer. So, OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) are the ones buying from Wi-Charge, though personally I would like to sell to consumers.