Ossia Inc, an up-and-coming technology startup, revealed a prototype of its new flagship product at this month’s Techcrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco on September 9th, 2013. The product, called Cota, is designed to transmit power wirelessly through the air in order to charge small devices such as cell phones.
Hatem Zeine, CEO and founder of Ossia, demonstrated his prototype of the Cota device live onstage, successfully charging his iPhone while holding it several feet away from the device. Zeine filed his first patent for Cota in 2007 and founded Ossia in 2008, but has managed to develop and refine his idea in secret while still collecting an impressive $3.2 million dollars in funding. This is the first time he has publicly revealed his company’s existence.
There are a few wireless-charging products already on the market, such as LG’s Nexus 4. However, these chargers require the use of a base, which the device to be charged – such as a phone – is placed on top of instead of being plugged into. What makes Cota so different is that it is designed to transmit the power needed to charge a device wirelessly through the air, using the same frequencies as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
The Cota prototype is currently able to deliver wireless energy about ten feet through the air, at about ten percent of the original source power. Questions abound regarding the potential health risks of sending this amount of power through the air. Zeine believes that since Cota broadcasts using the same frequency range as Wi-Fi and other telecommunications technologies, the health risks would be as minimal as those posed by these already widespread devices. Cota is currently in the final stages of being approved by the FCC.
“For me, wireless means remote, automatic, effortless,” Zeine said during his demonstration. With Cota, Zeine intends to make charging everyday devices completely effortless, and says his device can deliver one watt of power safely at a distance of 30 feet. He is working on commercializing the product, and hopes to have a version available for consumers by 2015.