Current smartphones and their incoming replacements present a huge range of possibilities. Gaming, communication, productivity and media consumption are all on the menu for as long as the device's battery lasts. The issue is that's not a very long time these days. In an industry where being able to actually use your device for close to six hours without a charge is considered great, it's clear that battery advancement and better power management are desperately needed. While some companies prefer to focus on batteries that charge obscenely fast and leave you tethered to an outlet for less time, some lean toward stuffing hulking batteries into their devices. Others would rather optimize their software to take the smallest amount of juice possible. There are tons of innovators out there as well, looking into new battery tech and new ways to charge. One of them is known as Energous, and is backed by Marty Cooper, the man who invented the cell phone.
While some ambient charging solutions on the horizon are looking to an increasing focus on solar or the use of sound waves, Energous seeks to harness the energy in the radio waves all around us that deliver data to our phones, signal to our televisions and disc jockeys' upbeat antics to our stereos between songs. These radio waves don't offer a ton of power, but what could be harnessed may just be enough, with the right receiver and transmitter, to power a phone in the future. There are, of course, some issues.
The biggest issues facing Energous' technology, at the moment, are FCC regulations and mass adoption of their tech. At the moment, the FCC is unable to decide if their tech would interfere with existing wireless devices and have thus only allowed them licenses for tiny transmitters that can power small things like hearing aids, so long as they're in contact with the transmitter. As development continues, the short-term goal is to power objects from a few inches away next year, then go from there. For that to happen, the FCC will have to come around, and device makers of all sorts will have to be convinced to include Energous' receivers in their products. While Energous did show off a demo of their WattUp system charging a phone from some distance back in 2015, their current development is more FCC friendly and will require a bit more time and effort to develop to fruition.