Applications in healthcare include asset tracking. (Credit: Energous)

Wireless charging has made an incredible impact on the world, including on the world of healthcare. But is there more that can be achieved?

One company’s technology is poised to support both near-field and at-a-distance charging. San Jose-based Energous develops radio-frequency(RF)-based wireless power transfer technologies and customizable reference designs to power everything from the critical tools and devices that keep factories running to the instruments and wearables that monitor patient health — wirelessly. The company’s flagship technology, called WattUp®, allows devices to charge wirelessly over the air using RF energy.

WattUp uses a transmitter that sends RF energy to a receiver in a device, which then converts that energy into usable electrical power to charge the device’s battery. The technology can work with a wide range of devices, including wearables, IoT devices, and even hearing aids.

One of the key advantages of WattUp is its ability to charge devices at a distance, without requiring them to be in physical contact with a charging pad or dock. This makes it a highly flexible and convenient charging solution, particularly for devices that are constantly on-the-go.

Applications in healthcare range from asset tracking and storage and monitoring of vaccinations and drugs to patient tracking and in-hospital sensors of doors and windows. Transmitters offer an unlimited coverage area via a mesh network. Receivers take up a very small footprint. The flexible WattUp wireless charging technology can fit easily into devices large and small, and it supports both low- and high-power requirements. When devices can be cordless and completely sealed, it enables easy sterilization and removes the need to manage cords.

Energous’ technology can be applied to the healthcare industry in a few different ways. Here are some examples.

Wireless Charging of Medical Devices. Energous’ WattUp technology can wirelessly charge medical devices such as hearing aids, insulin pumps, and glucose monitors, without requiring patients to constantly replace batteries. This can improve patient experience and reduce the need for frequent device maintenance.

Power at a Distance for Wearable Medical Devices. Wearable medical devices such as ECG monitors, blood pressure monitors, and pulse oximeters require frequent charging. The technology can enable these devices to be charged wirelessly and from a distance, making it more convenient for patients to use these devices on a regular basis.

Remote Patient Monitoring. Power-ata-distance technology can also enable remote patient monitoring, allowing healthcare professionals to monitor patients’ health from a distance. This can be particularly useful for patients who live in remote or rural areas, where access to healthcare may be limited.

Smart Hospital Infrastructure. The technology can enable wireless power transfer for a variety of devices and systems within a healthcare facility. This can include everything from lighting and HVAC systems to medical equipment and devices.

Overall, Energous’ technology has the potential to improve the convenience, functionality, and efficiency of healthcare devices and systems, ultimately leading to better patient outcomes and experiences.

The company received the world’s first FCC Part 18 certification for at-a-distance wireless charging and has been awarded more than 200 patents for its WattUp technology. The technology supports a near-limitless range of applications without the need for cumbersome charging cables and ports that limit innovation and are prone to failure.

To further expand capabilities, Energous partners with other technology developers to offer such services as end-to-end device tracking and IoT sensing. IoT sensors detect, respond, and report changes in an environment, and RF Tags are enabled for real-time tracking and management of products through their entire supply chain.

Wireless charging at a distance could be a game changer for medical devices in hospital settings.

Sherrie Trigg

Editor and Director of Medical Content