TL; DR: Humavox is reshaping the wireless charging landscape with a unique platform that transforms nearly any passive object into a charging unit via electromagnetic waves. The flexible technology is designed to allow manufacturers of all kinds to integrate dynamic, next-generation power solutions into endless types of devices and products. Ultimately, Humavox aims to eliminate worries about battery status to an extent that genuinely changes lives.
I have absolutely no sense of direction, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
My early 20s were filled with panicked stops at gas stations, where I’d beg for someone to point me in the right direction. When forced to figure things out myself, going against my gut was typically a good idea.
I bought my first smartphone in 2008, complete with GPS, and I haven’t stopped for directions since. Technology has kindly removed that burden — though I get incredibly nervous at the sight of a low battery.
I’m not alone. Today, a low charge has brought on a new type of human anguish known as low-battery anxiety. It’s not a clinical disease, but nine out of 10 participants polled in a 2016 survey said they “felt panic” when their phone battery dropped below the 20% threshold.
Over the years, I’ve learned to stash cables and outlets around the house, in the car, at the office — anywhere and everywhere to stay connected. But as my device collection grows — first an iPad, then a smartwatch, now wireless earbuds — it’s become hard to keep up.
“It’s unreasonable and unrealistic to expect humans to roam through life holding a bouquet of wires,” said Omri Lachman, CEO at Humavox.
That’s why Humavox is introducing a new hardware platform that empowers manufacturers to integrate next-generation charging solutions into countless products and devices. The technology is designed to make the charging experience as effortless for users as wifi connectivity. With use cases in healthcare and other critical industries, Humavox’s technology has the potential to truly change lives.
Using Radio Frequency to Transform Passive Objects into Chargers
Omri told us Humavox was founded in 2010 after he and co-founder Asaf Elssibony noticed limitations in the first generation of wireless power transfer, known as inductive charging or Qi. The technology behind Qi provides electricity to mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches, via electromagnetic induction.
“Given the technology constraints that required the user to precisely orient their device on top of the plate, we said, ‘OK, that’s a nice gadget for Apple fanboys who are willing to jump through burning hoops to make the charger work, but what about devices that cannot comply with the physics of inductive charging?’” he said.
Qi uses transmitting and receiving coils to transfer electricity, which works well with certain flat devices, such as smartphones, when carefully placed, but doesn’t provide a solution for those with arbitrary shapes, such as hearing aids.
At the time that they were brainstorming alternative solutions, the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearable tech weren’t yet buzzwords, but Omri and Asaf knew that the future of mobile tech wouldn’t be centered on smartphones.
“The whole future of mobility is going to change with devices that are going to become an extension of the user, part of daily wear, as we are beginning to see today,” Omri said. “It won’t be natural for the consumer to start placing those devices in all sorts of ways just to get a charge. And that’s really what got us going.”
The pair built Humavox’s flexible hardware platform, known as ETERNA, from the ground up to create a seamless drop-and-charge user experience. The goal was to enable product designers to integrate wireless charging into nearly any object where people instinctively drop their devices, regardless of position or orientation within the space.
“We designed our technology using near-field radio frequency (RF) resonance, discovered a certain electromagnetic behavior, and turned that into a solution we call Intuitive Charging,” Omri said. “For example, if your human usability pattern tells you to drop your phone into the cup holder when you walk into your car, the cup holder could become a charger. Any structure can turn into a charging unit using our technology.”
Ultimately, this creates somewhat of an around-the-clock charging scenario where, ideally, consumers won’t even have to think about their device’s battery life. “It’s just ready to go whenever you want to use it,” Omri said.
A Platform Flexible Enough to Fit Endless Types of Devices and Products
Humavox is already rolling out its technology to OEMs, who are using it to manufacture not just consumer products but those meant for enterprise environments, such as the automotive and construction industries.
“One of our key partners, for example, is Stanley Black & Decker, Inc.,” Omri said. “Together, we’re
we’re shaping technology to change the way hand and electronic tools are powered. We have a few other confidential partners, and in the coming 18 months, their products will start rolling out with our technology inside.”
Intuitive wireless charging is a compelling feature of any mobile device. For now, the Humavox team is focusing on several solution sets. In the healthcare arena, for example, the company’s goal is to provide easy integration into devices such as hearing aids, glucose monitors, wearable sensors, ECG monitors, and medical smart glasses.
Professionals will use tools containing ETERNA to eliminate the need to charge head-mounted displays, tracking devices, and wearable mobile computing devices, among other products. On the consumer side, the technology will be featured in smart clothing, wireless headphones and earbuds, smart rings and watches, fitness trackers, and other wearable tech.
And, because Humavox’s ETERNA wireless charging platform eliminates the need for a USB port, manufacturers can make smaller and more waterproof devices.
In time, the Humavox team envisions ETERNA becoming a must-have feature. “In our wishful thinking, when we grow up, we want to be the Intel Inside of wireless charging, where almost every consumer on earth would know their device has our technology,” Omri said.
Although ETERNA is sold in a B2B arrangement, Omri told us Humavox pays close attention to the end user. Through engagements with leading manufacturers, the company has been exposed to upcoming trends well ahead of the public.
“We get familiar with new devices to be launched years from now, which allows us to consider how we can impact the user experience,” he said. “We also keep track of feedback from end users. It helps us to shape the technology and prioritize features — we don’t pretend to know what they’re thinking, we just listen.”
The Goal: To Drive Disruptive Technology That Changes Lives
Omri told us he feels privileged to drive forward such a disruptive technology that will affect people’s lives in a meaningful way.
“Charging has always been a high-driver for whether consumers adopt or abandon devices, especially with so many featuring proprietary connectors,” he said. “Now we’re seeing how wireless charging is changing that and increasing consumer adoption, in many cases leading to an overall improvement in people’s lives.”
To that end, Omri said Humavox is proud to have built its technology from the ground up to cater to the needs of specific market segments, especially for those that go beyond consumer electronics.
“If, because of our technology, doctors, architects, or public safety professionals like firefighters can adopt augmented reality without being concerned about charging, we will be very fortunate to have made a difference,” he said.