SAN JOSE, Calif. — Humavox emerged from stealth mode adding another wireless charging technology to what some say is already too large a set of options. The startup uses RF technology in a closed container, aiming at generally small devices such as hearing aids, smart watches, and connected glasses.
Humavox formally launched its website Tuesday, but it supplies little detail so far on the company's Thunderlink RF interconnect or Nest container, which is not related to separate products from Nest Labs.
Users put their wearable devices in a Farady cage called the Nest Power Station where they are zapped with RF signals. The signals are received by electronics built into the charging device and then converted to DC energy.
The approach means users don't need to worry about how they place devices in a charging box. That's a drawback with competing techniques that use inductive coupling that needs close connections between the electronics in the device and a charging mat.
"By using RF transmission in Nest, Humavox gained control over these waves and managed to accurately point it towards the devices under charge, setting an extremely high level of wireless power transfer efficiency," said Omri Lachman, co-founder and chief executive of Humavox, in an email exchange.
Humavox eases the job for users -- and keeps them safe -- by placing objects under charge with its RF technique in a Faraday cage.
Humavox aims to license its technology to OEMs that can implement it in a variety of ways in their products using existing power management ICs and their own boards or ASICs. So far the company has not disclosed any OEM customers.
The company debuts at a time when some say there are already too many wireless charging options.
"Today, there are three standards and they have to converge," said Henry Samueli, chief technologist at Broadcom, speaking at a recent press event. "I think this year they will figure out this market is not taking off until they get together," he said.
The main driver of the wireless charging market will not be smartphones so much as a wide array of devices that are part of the so-called Internet of Things, Samueli added.
The Humavox technology emerged from discussions between Lachman and a close friend, Asaf Elssibony, his chief technologist and a veteran electronics engineer.
In a discussion in 2009 Elssibony described to Lachman an implanted spinal cord neurostimulator he used for pain relief after getting injured during his service in the Israeli army. "He started telling me about how the device had to be surgically removed and replaced every three-and-a-half years because the battery life expectancy is so short," said Lachman, who has served on the boards of several startups and worked in marketing and business development roles for the automotive division of a family business.
Soon the two were working on new concepts for wireless charging. "We filed our first patents, did some garage proof-of-concepts, and in 2010 finalized a first round of financing and incorporated as a company," Lachman said.
— Rick Merritt, Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, EE Times