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[2]Do not show again (BUTTON) ____________________ Edition [3]U.S. [4]ASIA * [5]Home * [6]Real-Time + [7]Stocks to Watch + [8]Tech Trader Daily + [9]Focus on Funds + [10]Income Investing + [11]Emerging Markets + [12]Asia Stocks to Watch + [13]Sector Focus * [14]Magazine + [15]This Week's Edition + [16]Past Editions * [17]Advisor Center * [18]Data + [19]Market Data Center + [20]Market Lab + [21]Economic Calendar + [22]Watchlist + [23]Barron's 400 + [24]Picks & Pans * [25]Penta * [26]Next (BUTTON) [27](BUTTON) sign out * [28]Customer Center * [29]Newsletters & Alerts (BUTTON) What are you searching for? ____________________ (BUTTON) Search [30]Barron's (BUTTON) All Sections [31]Subscribe Now | [32]Sign In[33] (BUTTON) Sign In (BUTTON) Search * [34]Home * [35]Real-Time * [36]Magazine * [37]Advisor Center * [38]Data * [39]Penta * [40]Next [41]SIGN IN (BUTTON) VIEW ALL SEARCH RESULTS [INLINE] This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers visit http://www.djreprints.com. http://www.barrons.com/articles/witricity-energous-were-shipping-deal-with-it-say-wireless-power-pioneers-15 05418421 * [42]Tech Trader Daily WiTricity, Energous: We're Shipping, Deal With It, Say Wireless Power Pioneers By Tiernan Ray Updated Sept. 14, 2017 3:47 p.m. ET * * * * * * Text Size Regular Medium Large Energous CEO Steve Rizzone, left, and founder and CTO Michael Leabman demonstrate some of the company's wireless charging tech at CES 2017. Energous CEO Steve Rizzone, left, and founder and CTO Michael Leabman demonstrate some of the company's wireless charging tech at CES 2017. [Note to readers: This is a republished version of a blog post that had become lost because of an error with our content system. The original post was put up on January 10th, 2017.] After [43]chatting on Thursday with Menno Treffers of the Qi wireless power effort about limitations of competitors, I had a chance on Friday to see both of the main competing camps, WiTricity and Energous ([44]WATT), to hear how they would defend themselves. Friday morning, I went to a suite that WiTricity had at the Venetian hotel to meet with the startup company's CEO, Alex Gruzen. WiTricity has a form of wireless power called "magnetic resonance," which is different from Qi, the dominant technology, which is a form of "magnetic inductance." The primary difference, as WiTricity sees it, is that Qi requires devices to be placed precisely in an area of a charging plate, with success defined within millimeters, or it doesn't work. Phone with a wireless magnetic resonance receiver built in sits on a chargin pad in WiTricity suite. Phone with a wireless magnetic resonance receiver built in sits on a chargin pad in WiTricity suite. WiTricity's technology can have a far looser proximity between device and charger, and in the "Z-axis," vertically, there can be a space of many inches. That allows power to be sent through a table, without drilling holes, or sent from the floor of a garage to the underside of the chassis of an electric vehicle. At the show, privately held Dell [45]announced it will build the charging capability into a notebook computer, the "Latitude 7285," which sits on a charging plate. This is a nice win for WiTricity, and not entirely surprising, perhaps, as Gruzen had previously run the notebook computer business for Dell. In the suite, Gruzen explained his vision for the un-wired office of the future: you come to your office, plunk your laptop down on the desk, on the charging pad, and your big dual desktop monitors wake up and automatically connect to the laptop. (The monitors connect to the laptop through the "WiGig" standard, having nothing to do with WiTricity's charging technology.) WiTricity's wireless desktop of the future, with the Dell laptop sitting on the charging pad, and monitors connected via the WiGig standard. WiTricity's wireless desktop of the future, with the Dell laptop sitting on the charging pad, and monitors connected via the WiGig standard. "Because you can remove this last cable, you can finally go without all the cabling we've had to put up with," Gruen told me. There will also be smartphones this year built out with the charging technology. Cars are in development too, he told me, without disclosing automotive OEM customers. For cars, the company will partner with developers of what is envisioned to be charging infrastructure. Asked what his priorities are for now, Gruzen said, "we are really focused on building a company," which means, pumping out the product that is now presumably going to show up on store shelves and in auto dealerships over the course of this year. I posed to Gruzen some complaints of the Qi folks, which basically amount to the notion that efficiency has not been proven in the wild. "Look, I'm not going to debate Menno Treffers," said Gruzen, with a slight wave of his hand. "We are shipping. Go down to Dell's set up and see it. One of the largest notebook makers, just go and ask them." I got a similar response from Energous, at the company's suite at the Hard Rock Hotel, where I met later on Friday with CEO Steve Rizzone and founder and CTOMichael Leabman. Energous's "WattUp" products are different from induction and resonance, sending power via RF signals. The company [46]announced during the show a bunch of partner products to use the technology, such as a power dongle from accessories maker Peri. Energous's first-gen charging pad charging a "tracker" that you use to keep track of stuff, and the same kind of receiver attached to glasses frames. Energous's first-gen charging pad charging a "tracker" that you use to keep track of stuff, and the same kind of receiver attached to glasses frames. But a dongle on which you place a wearable gadget, for example, falls far short of the company's most ambitious claim, which is to charge from distances of up to 15 feet away. "Yes, I understand this skepticism," said Rizzone, when I explained to him and Leabman the objections of Menno Treffers that nothing has been demonstrated conclusively about safety and efficiency. "This is understandable from an older, legacy technology that is stuck in an old way of doing things." One of Leabman's and Rizzone's contention is that Qi are fixated on full charging, the equivalent of powering up your phone without a wire. In contrast, WattUp's idea is to send power in dribs and drabs to "top up" a phone or wearable. "You believe you have a philosophically different approach to that of Qi's?" I asked. "That's right," said Rizzone, "We're changing the paradigm." In the suite, Rizzone and Leabman showed a demo in which a remote control lights up when brought near to a desktop monitor whose baffle has been equipped with a transmitter for WattUp. Similarly, sitting in a living room set up, with the remote on the coffee table, the remote lit up as Leabman tapped on a smartphone to, he told me, send power to the device from a transmitter built into a sound bar sitting next to the television set, about 8 feet from the table. In both cases, the remote control's buttons lit up. But, I said, that was not proof of charging. It was proof that a remote control device was being somehow made to glow, but not conclusive proof of charging. Even if something was being sent to the remote, there was no watt meter, so there was no way to know if what was being sent was actually a legitimate charge. I just had to believe what I was apparently seeing. Could it all be just a simulation? I asked. How would I know? "How do you know it's charging?" repeated Rizzone. "You know it's charging because a huge company like Dialog has put a lot at stake to partner with us," referring to Dialog Semiconductor ([47]DLG), which has [48]taken on the role of manufacturer of the company's silicon, and made a $10 million investment. "You know we're charging because you have a company like Jersey Telecom, a one-hundred-year-old firm, that is willing to put their confidence behind us," he said, referring to telecom provider Jersey Telecom, [49]a which last week announced a $5 million investment in Energous. "We're shipping, this is happening," said Rizzone. I asked a couple of times about the matter of safety. Treffers and other doubters contend there is no way RF power can be safe without being harmful. Energous has its application for approval from the FCC in process, an application that will hinge in part on the safety considerations of the technology. Asked when that approval will be granted, Rizzone said its anyone's guess, referring to the bureaucratic process. I stepped in between the sound bar and the remote control, asking if I should be worried about RF going through my body. "Listen, this is an order of magnitude below what Part 18 mandates," said Rizzone, referring to a section of the FCC guidelines that covers safety for humans of electromagnetic radiation, a claim he repeated several times during our discussion. "We know this is safe, because we are demonstrating that to the FCC. This is safe, and it will be approved." The upshot is that both companies have demonstrated some people with a lot of money are willing to believe what has been shown to them. And one can take that on faith, or one can wait to see the technology when it arrives on store shelves. Energous stock today is up 35 cents, or 2%, at $17.41. 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