Powering a wireless world with wireless energy


Few things unite people in this modern world like the shared hatred of smartphone battery life. Batteries have fallen far behind the technology they’re meant to power, and while solutions are on the way, perhaps better batteries aren’t really the answer.

One interesting angle is wireless power. Radio waves are, after all, just energy. Shouldn’t a device be able to capture that energy to use?

“Wireless power is not new. What we’ve got is a patent of integration,” said Joanne Negrón (pictured), chief technical officer of Green Brain Technologies Inc., during the IBM InterConnect 2017 conference in Las Vegas, NV. Along with Himesh Patel, chief executive officer of Green Brain Technologies, Negrón had come to the event to showcase the company’s new wireless power solutions.

Negrón and Patel spoke to Dave Vellante (@dvellante), co-host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE’s mobile live-streaming studio. The discussion focused on the potential and challenges of wireless power. (*Disclosure below.)

Apps, grids, networks, the future

Sending power through the air is an old idea, with attempts being made over the years to various degrees of success and/or spectacular explosions. One key change today is the existence of network transmitters that can better coordinate the movement of power, and the vastly greater number of devices to use it.

Asking users, and power companies, to unplug from the grid will not be an easy thing, Patel said. Partnerships in building this network will require dealing with regulatory issues and managing the response to unplugging. Either way, building out the network will be an enormous task.

One thing earlier wireless power efforts didn’t have was an app. Negrón shared how IBM Corp. helped them develop an app for mobile users. This app shares data back, allowing Green Brain to gather the data needed to discover usage areas and peak times.

The system itself is more basic than the current power grid, according to the Negrón and Patel. It revolves around a base station that also collects power through alternative energy. This station beams the power out to a receiver that is external to the battery. This receiver can be adjusted for many different devices, giving the system a wide surface area of possible uses.

“The common thread is we all want to do the right thing now and bring the planet into the century it should be in,” Negrón said.

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of IBM InterConnect 2017. (*Disclosure: SiliconANGLE Media’s theCUBE is a media partner at InterConnect. Neither IBM nor other conference sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE