The First Consumer Product With WattUp Wireless Charging Will Be This Very Expensive Smart Underwear

January 8, 2018, 9:37 PM UTC
Skiin health-tracking apparel, which includes Energous WattUp remote charging capabilities.

Energous, whose remote charging technology received a landmark FCC safety approval in late December, has announced the first product to integrate a version of the technology. WattUp charging will be featured in Skiin smart apparel, which tracks wearer’s health data and can integrate with other connected devices.

The first Skiin products, now available for pre-order, are smart undergarments. For between $279 and $349 a pop, the men’s or women’s underwear will include two swappable tracking modules and a WattUp near-field wireless charger.

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In its announcement, Energous says the Skiin products’ sensors will be easy to “remove and charge.” That’s not quite the utopian dream of wireless charging, which could eventually allow devices to be charged by ambient airborne power, even while in use. That’s because, while Energous now has FCC approval for charging at a mid-field range of three feet, the charger included with the Skiin apparel will have a shorter range.

Energous says the Skiin sensors will support charging at mid- and long-range when those transmitters are released. WattUp’s long-range charging device is still awaiting FCC approval.

Energous also announced new chips with built-in wireless charging capabilities, to be produced in partnership with chipmaker Dialog. That should make it easier for manufacturers in various fields to integrate the technology. Energous says that they anticipate more products using the mid-range version of their WattUp tech to come to market this year.

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