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VentureBeat reports that Walmart has made a deal with a Washington State-based company called Ossia, which has developed “a wire-free, over-the-air transceiver that could beam electricity to devices anywhere within range.” The story says that Walmart, as Ossia’s first retail customer, will work with the company “to explore ways in which Ossia “might help Walmart cut power costs in its thousands of stores, clubs, and facilities.”

Here’s how VentureBeat describes the technology:

“Unlike most ‘wireless’ charging tech on the market, Cota doesn’t require line-of-sight access, plugs, or charging pads. Instead, it taps thousands of antennas embedded in transmitters that communicate with compatible transceivers. When a device starts running low on power, those antennas emit microseconds-long beacon signals that reflect off of walls and other obstacles until they reach a transmitter, which triangulates the beams to pinpoint the transceiver’s location and sends power along those paths.

“A single transmitter can send about 1 watt to a smartphone sitting 3-6 feet away, Ossia claims, while its prototype Cota Tile can charge devices up to 30 feet away (or 50 feet with two transmitters working in tandem). Future designs will take advantage of more powerful 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz hardware, the latter of which will enable Ossia to squeeze more antennas onto a same-sized transmitter.”
KC's View:
I’m intrigued by the idea that one service that Walmart may be able to offer is wireless charging of shoppers’ mobile devices using the Ossia technology. That would be a pretty cool thing.