The CES 2019 news keeps coming and the show hasn’t even started. Powercast has announced they will be unveiling their over-the-air wireless charging grips for Nintendo Joy-Con controllers. While I hear that the Nintendo Joy-Con controllers already have decent battery life, this has to be a pretty cool addition for any Switch owner.
The company says that grips that are sold on the market today are simple plastic accessories that Nintendo Joy-Con controllers snap into. Powercast has added contactless wireless charging functionality to create intelligent grips (left, right and double-controller versions) that charge Joy-Cons and double as a backup battery pack. Powercast’s Powerharvester receiver and a battery are embedded in the grips. The Powerharvester harnesses power sent over the air to charge the embedded battery, which then charges the batteries in the Joy-Cons until they are fully charged. The grips also act as a backup battery pack, keeping the Joy-Con batteries topped off when out of the transmitter’s range for about 38 hours of gameplay on one charge.
Gamers never have to dock their Joy-Con controllers and instead can leave them inside the grips for carefree wireless charging. The grips receive power when placed within about two feet of the PowerSpot transmitter, achieving a full charge between gaming sessions. An LED illuminates when the grips are charging and turns off when they’re done.
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) enables intelligent wireless charging where power is only sent as needed. The grips request power from the transmitter when their batteries are low, and tell it to stop when charged.
Charles Greene, Ph.D., chief operating and technical officer of Powercast, explains the company’s inspiration for also bringing its own wireless charging device to market. “Many of us at Powercast are Nintendo Switch gamers, and we often found that we’d let our batteries die by forgetting to dock our controllers,” said Greene. “Realizing our technology could solve the problem, we developed a product that lets the Joy-Cons charge without docking when you walk away from a gaming session.”
Greene continued, “Our vision is to enable long-range, true wireless charging where consumers simply place all their PowerSpot-enabled devices within range of a PowerSpot transmitter in their home or a public place.” Up to 30 enabled devices in the charging zone will automatically connect and receive power, sharing the transmitter’s three-watt (EIRP) output. Instructions included with enabled devices will show their recommended charging distance and time.
“We are proud of our track record of delivering practical wireless power products that work, safely and responsibly, under FCC and other global standards,” said Greene. “We’ve developed the most efficient power harvesting technology that’s permitted within today’s standards. Our robust technology also has capabilities beyond that, so look for our product releases to evolve as regulations do.”
Pricing and availability have yet to be announced but you can keep an eye out for all that over on the company’s website.
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