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Archive for the ‘Power’ Category

Improving Military Electronic Devices with WattUp RF Wireless Charging Technology

Thursday, February 11th, 2021


Photo: U.S. Army. Use of this image is for informational purposes only – the appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

As military forces become more technologically enabled, optimizing the size, weight and power requirements (SWAPO) for tactical electronic devices continues to provide opportunities for improvement. WattUp wireless charging is one innovative technology that program offices could implement to enhance battery and device designs.

WattUp is an embedded charging technology which eliminates the dependence on charging cables, open ports or battery doors that reduce the physical integrity and ruggedness of a device. This delivers the dual benefit of reducing the complexity of product design – which can lower both manufacturing and build of materials (BOM) costs – as well as increase a device’s durability and dependability.

WattUp uses radio frequency (RF) technology to establish a link between a transmitter and a receiver, sending power via antennas. It does not use magnetic coils, which require precise alignment or physical contact with the device for charging to take place. This new technology enables both at-contact and over-the-air wireless charging. WattUp also offers improvements in the orientation, placement and interference issues that can occur with coil-based charging. Support for different sized and shaped devices, along with foreign object detection and enhanced thermal performance round out the benefits of WattUp wireless charging from Energous.

WattUp® Mid Field and Far Field Transmitters sense and communicate to authorized receiver devices via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), but do not interfere with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, as a different frequency band is used for the transmission of power. WattUp is also software-controlled, intelligently determining which devices receive power, when and in what priority. A WattUp transmitter can also charge several devices simultaneously, contributing to a complete wireless power ecosystem with interoperability across multiple receivers and transmitters. If there are no WattUp-enabled devices within range, the WattUp transmitter becomes idle so no power is wasted.

The WattUp receiver ASIC is a microchip embedded within the circuit board of the device that converts the transmitter’s radio waves into DC power to charge the device’s battery. WattUp receiver technology can be scaled to fit a variety of different electronic devices, including very small systems as small as in-ear communications and hearing protection.

The WattUp technology is FCC-approved for power to be transmitted at near field (0 – 5mm distance) and through the air at mid field ranges (up to 1m distance) – with distances of up to 5 meters being in the works.

Finally, the WattUp ecosystem features secure, cloud-based, management software, which enables users to track and manage multiple WattUp-enabled devices within a single environment. Users can set priorities and other alerts to maintain oversight of the health and power consumption of their devices and batteries – and get advance notice when they need recharging.

Military units need to have confidence in their equipment and the assurance that it will perform effectively when needed. Dead or defective batteries can be as unwelcome as non-serviceable weapon. With no need to manually check batteries or to physically connect devices to chargers, WattUp RF wireless charging technology gives leaders and soldiers the confidence that their batteries and devices will be charged and ready when needed.

To find out more about how WattUp® RF wireless charging technology can be applied to military applications, visit energous.com/military, or contact us at [email protected].

Increasing Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Coverage with Automated Wireless Recharging of Small Tactical UAVs

Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

The U.S. departments of Defense and Homeland Security will spend billions of dollars over the next few years on unmanned aerial and ground vehicles (UAVs) and sensor systems. The U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps will make greater use of Class I mini/micro vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) UAVs to provide tactical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities at the small unit level. Other branches of the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security are also dramatically increasing the use of drones and sensors as crucial components of infrastructure, border, and base defense systems.


Small, portable, VTOL, UAV systems provide a unique and flexible maneuverable airborne platform for close-to-mid-range intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) coverage. Class I drones of this type are rapidly becoming the must-have “eye in the sky” for military and security forces seeking crucial information-based tactical command and control capability.
Photo: FLIR Systems R80D SkyRaider Class I VTOL UAV system. Copyright: FLIR Systems.

Virtually all small UAV platforms, however, rely on batteries that provide only a short amount of flight time before they need to be recharged or replaced – manually. This need to manually replace and recharge batteries presents obvious tactical and logistical issues.

But what if there was a way for UAVs to be autonomously, automatically and wirelessly recharged whenever and wherever necessary? Well, now there is. WattUp® radio frequency (RF) wireless charging technology from Energous Corporation.

As WattUp is an embedded technology, there is no need for cables, ports or battery doors that reduce the physical integrity of devices and increase the complexity of product design and manufacturing. By eliminating these features, hardware can have greater physical integrity, including being dust- and waterproof – keeping internal circuitry fully protected. And as there is no need to manually disconnect and replace batteries or connect chargers – multiple cables, connectors and adapters can be eliminated.


Illustration by U.S. Army. U.S. ground troops patrol while unmanned ground vehicles carry their extra equipment and small UAVs provide aerial surveillance coverage.
Use of this image is for informational purposes only – the appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

WattUp uses RF signal technology similar to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to establish a link between a Power Transmitter and a Power Receiver. Once a connection is established, the transmitter sends power to the receiver along the same signal path. This “conversation” happens 100x/second and sends power safely to devices or batteries at various distances.

WattUp does not use magnetic coils requiring precise alignment or physical contact with the device for charging to take place – power is transmitted through the air at near-field and mid-field ranges. This capability makes WattUp ideal for devices that have rounded or irregular shapes – like most UAVs. WattUp systems also can be set up to charge automatically as soon as the device is within range of a transmitter, with a single transmitter capable of charging several devices simultaneously.


A drone that is part of the 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron (379th ESFS) counter-small unmanned aerial systems (C-UAS) program stands ready Nov. 5, 2020, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. The 379th ESFS Defenders have established one of the most robust C-UAS programs in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility to detect and defend against adversarial drones that pose a potential threat to the safety and security of AUAB.
Photo credit: U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Brigette Waltermire. Use of this image is for informational purposes only – the appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Finally, WattUp’s secure, cloud-based, management software enables users to track a battery’s state of charge and determine when it will need recharging. It also enables users to monitor the health and status of batteries held in depots and storerooms so that batteries can be issued with full assurance.

WattUp® RF wireless charging technology can potentially bring many new benefits and capabilities to military and homeland security UAV operators. For example, when multiple UAVs are providing roving aerial surveillance for base and infrastructure defense, a WattUp-enabled drone could be set to automatically fly back to a landing / charging pad to recharge at the end of its flight time, while a fully charged UAV lifts off to take its place. With UAVs automatically rotating in and out of service and recharging autonomously, uninterrupted ISR coverage of areas of interest could be achieved.

WattUp also has a potential role in the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) rich operational scenarios envisioned in the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps concepts for the squad of the future. Autonomous ground vehicles such as the MUTT military utility tactical truck could be utilized as automated mobile RF wireless charging stations, enabling tactical VTOL UAVs to recharge near the forward edge of the battle area.

Without the need for manual interaction, power transmission could also be done safely at higher levels (to achieve shorter charging times) than is possible when human operators are present. WattUp systems are also scalable, so power transmission levels can be adjusted as necessary for the application and operating environment. For example, a 15W Base Station system could be scaled up to 30W or 45W, while charging distance can scale from 5mm for high power devices, up to few meters for lower power applications.


Soldiers deploy a small ‘quadcopter’ style UAV system on a tactical reconnaissance mission.
Photo: InstantEye Robotics Mk-3 GEN4-D1 small unmanned aerial system. Copyright: InstantEye Robotics.

Unmanned aerial systems, and the sensor packages they carry, have become a must-have facet of military and security forces today – and their importance will only continue to grow. Short flight times and manual battery changing and charging, however, limit how much critical ISR capability they can deliver.

Implementing WattUp RF wireless charging technology could help small UAS operators overcome the issues associated with current battery charging options, and thus be a force multiplier for critical tactical ISR capabilities.

For further information about employing WattUp® RF wireless charging technology in military applications, visit energous.com/military.

By Lawrence Holsworth and James Pope

Energous Showcases Military Applications for WattUp RF Wireless Charging Technology

Tuesday, January 5th, 2021

WattUp® radio frequency (RF) wireless charging technology provides at-distance charging capability that is suitable for many military applications – including; UAVs/UGVs, communication devices, situational awareness and targeting devices, portable field medical equipment, and more.

WattUp wireless technology does not require cables, ports or battery doors – so circuits and hardware are better protected against moisture and dust. WattUp enabled devices can also be set up to charge automatically at distance from a transmitter as soon as they’re in range – no need to manually check battery levels or connect chargers.

Finally, the system’s secure, cloud-based, management software also enables commanders to track how much power is being used by a device, and to gain advance notice of when it will need recharging. It also enables units to be able to monitor the health and status of batteries held in depots and storerooms so that they can be issued with full assurance.

For further details, go to: bit.ly/wattup-military

Illustration copyright: U.S. Army. Image is used for informational purposes only. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Galvion Enters ‘Low Rate Initial Production’ With Unique Symbasys SWitchPack i6T Li-ion Vehicle Battery

Thursday, November 26th, 2020

Galvion, a world leader in the design and manufacture of military power management solutions has entered Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) with their unique Symbasys SWitchPack™ i6T Li-ion vehicle battery. LRIP has commenced following a series of successful tests to validate compliance with the international standards for military batteries and to prove the system fully safe and ready for installation and use in military vehicles.

Galvion has demonstrated prototype variants of their Li-ion battery over the last 2 years, with a considerable amount of product development and testing conducted to reach this important production milestone of what has become the SWitchPack i6T unit. What makes Galvion’s solution both unique and ground-breaking is the use of a blended lithium chemistry that has been tailored to match the specific needs of military vehicle power. Galvion is the only company in the world to use this chemistry blend for military applications. High purity materials combined with quality separators and laser welded electrodes minimize losses and unwanted chemical side-reactions which extends cycle life and environmental performance. The SWitchPack i6T uses a proprietary smart internal Battery Management System (BMS) that includes self-shutdown and self-balancing protocols in unsafe conditions.  The BMS has been bespoke designed to effectively operate in the harsh conditions and environments experienced on military operations. It also has a battle-override facility for “beyond-the-specs” operation in unprecedented combat mission scenarios.

From a user perspective, Galvion’s Symbasys SWitchPack™ i6T battery offers considerable capability enhancements and through-life efficiencies. Maintenance free across a 10-year service lifespan, the battery will deliver as much as 8000 recharge cycles; over twice that offered by any alternative 6T Li-ion unit. Compared to a traditional lead-acid 6T battery, SWitchPack delivers 3 times the useable capacity and energy at 24Volts (78Ah) and is 38% lighter in weight. Through-life cost savings are 87% compared to lead-acid 6T alternatives and 43% compared to other 6T Li-ion brands.

Galvion’s Symbasys SWitchPack™ i6T Li-ion vehicle battery meets demanding military standards including MIL-STD-1275, MIL-STD-810 and MIL-PRF-32565B.  Furthermore, the i6T has been demonstrated safe when subjected to extensive ballistic and non-ballistic penetration and meets stringent UN 38.3 commercial safety standards.  

Peter Rafferty, Galvion’s V.P. of Platform Power said: “entering initial production with our i6T battery is a huge milestone for Galvion. We’ve developed a truly ground-breaking product that we know is well ahead of our competition, globally. Our ongoing work with a number of major defence vehicle primes positions us at the forefront of not only battery technology, but perhaps more importantly, as the leader in understanding the integration challenges involved in fitting these kinds of battery systems in modern military vehicles”.   He added “vehicle power is an area where we forecast massive growth. The power demands on modern military vehicles are huge and continue to increase as more electronic sub-systems are integrated. With our SWitchPack i6T battery we’re bringing the military vehicle market up to date with the very best technology available that not only increases capability but also significantly reduces through-life costs”.  

www.galvion.com/pages/symbasys_switchpack_i6t_vehicle_battery

Power Bank from Exocharge

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020

Exocharge sent me one of their power banks to check out.

You can charge multiple devices at once with integrated USB-A and USB-C ports (newer models that he one I use). It incorporates a 10,000 mAh battery that delivers up to 18W Power Delivery (PD) from the USB-C port. The USB-A port delivers up to 12W of power.

Exocharge boasts that you can get up to three charges for iPhone (iPhone 11 Pro) before you have to recharge the Exilage power bank. They didn’t lie. I used it quite a bit over several months and got consistent charging performance.

One of the features I really like is the LED read out which shows you the power level left in the device, from 0-100.

I use the Elixage USB to USB-C cable along with a USB-C to Lightning cable from my iPhone, depending on what I am doing.

It measures 6.25″ x 3″ x .5″ so for storage, I am using a Lochby Quattro pouch which fits everything like it was made for it. Made from waxed cotton, it is a zippered pouch normally used to corral your pocket notebook and pens. It’s available in Brown and Black.

Army Readies Charging Port for Autonomous Drone Swarms

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — A swarm of hundreds of unmanned air vehicles will soon descend on unmanned ground vehicles to autonomously recharge, thanks to U.S. Army-funded research now underway at the University of Illinois Chicago.

The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory awarded the University of Illinois Chicago a four-year, $8 million cooperative agreement in August to develop foundational science in two critical propulsion and power technology areas for powering future families of unmanned aircraft systems, or UASs.

This collaborative program will help small battery-powered drones autonomously return from military missions to unmanned ground vehicles for recharging. The university is developing algorithms to enable route planning for multiple teams of small unmanned air and ground vehicles.

Dr. Mike Kweon, program manager for the laboratory’s Versatile Tactical Power and Propulsion Essential Research Program, said the research on route planning is critical to the Army, which needs intelligent, small UASs that can find optimal routes during a military mission to autonomously return to unmanned ground vehicles, known as UGVs, for recharging. This will optimize the operational range extension and time on mission.

“Imagine in the future, the Army deploying a swarm of hundreds or thousands of unmanned aerial systems,” Kweon said. “Each of these systems has only roughly 26 minutes with the current battery technologies to conduct a flight mission and return to their home before they lose battery power, which means all of them could conceivably return at the same time to have their batteries replaced.”

This future concept is based on the reality of today’s technology, Kweon said.

“Soldiers would need to carry a few thousand batteries on missions to facilitate this, which is logistically overwhelming and overall, not conducive to a leading expeditionary military operation,” he said. “With this research project, we’re operationalizing scientific endeavors to increase Soldier readiness on the battlefields of tomorrow.”

The use of fast, recharging batteries and wireless power transfer technologies will allow multiple small UASs to hover around unmanned ground vehicles for wireless charging, and this will not require Soldier involvement.

“I believe this is the only way to realize practical UAS swarming, and small UAS and UGV teaming. Without solving how to handle the energy demand, all other advanced technologies using artificial intelligence and machine learning will be useless for the Army,” Kweon said. “On the battlefield, we do not have luxury to replace batteries for 100s of UAVs and recharging them for hours.”

For larger drones, Army-funded research will explore the fundamental science needed to develop miniaturized fuel sensors for future multi-fuel hybrid electric propulsion systems.

Fuel property sensors that university partners are developing will help Soldiers who operate fuel-based equipment measure fuel property in real time for the Army’s air and ground vehicles, Kweon said.

This knowledge will allow Army personnel to prevent catastrophic failures of the systems and to increase its performance and reliability.

“This research is critical not only for air vehicles but also ground vehicles, especially for the Army missions,” Kweon said. “The fuel sensor is telling the operator what type of fuel is being delivered from the fuel tank to the engine. This input signal can be used to intelligently tell the engine to adjust engine control parameters according to the fuel type to avoid any failures. This data can also be used to find root-cause failures if any engine component prematurely failed.”

The university’s current research in fuel sensor development examines the effects of fuel structure and chemistry on ignition in future multi-fuel drone engines so that real-time control can be implemented. This project further explores the underpinning science using advanced techniques including spectroscopic diagnostics and data science analysis to both enable and accelerate real-time control.

“It also enriches the understanding of the ignition of any unconventional fuel that may need to be burned in the drone engines,” said Prof. Patrick Lynch, a principal investigator at the University of Illinois Chicago on this project.

Army researchers said there is a lot of enthusiasm about partnering through the Open Campus model.

“This not only advances the state of the art, but also operationalizes science for transformational overmatch–the mission of the CCDC Army Research Laboratory,” said Dr. Mark Tschopp, ARL Central regional lead. “What is great is that we are expanding the team to include experts in academia, small businesses, and industry to push concepts and ideas into future capabilities for the Army. In a partnership with the Army, the University of Illinois Chicago brings subject matter expertise, unique facilities and a diverse student body in a collaborative partnership with Army scientists to advance these technologies and to provide future capabilities for the warfighter.”

This university-led research project is one of 11 funded this summer by the Army’s corporate research laboratory as a part of Center for UAS Propulsion efforts to develop technologies for multi-fuel capable hybrid-electric engines and fast efficient energy distribution. Each university partner is helping the Army address the energy demand required to power future unmanned vehicles. Universities also awarded for similar research are the University of Minnesota; University of Michigan; University of Wisconsin-Madison; University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign; Iowa State University; University of Delaware; University of North Texas; Texas A&M University; University of Missouri and University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

The research, slated to begin this fall, is part of a larger research portfolio of multi-fuel capable hybrid-electric technologies led by the laboratory that supports the Army Modernization Priority for Future Vertical Lift. Most recently, the laboratory recently announced the development of a new, advanced scientific model that will allow vehicle maintenance specialists to turn to bio-derived fuels in austere locations, and efforts to convert a home-based generator into a power source for autonomous ground and air vehicles.

By U.S. Army CCDC Army Research Laboratory Public Affairs

Army-funded Research May Enable Drones to Run on Any Type of Fuel

Thursday, October 1st, 2020

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The U.S. Army recently awarded the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign an $8 million, four-year cooperative agreement to develop key technologies that may allow the Army’s unmanned air and ground vehicles to run on any type of fuel.

Researchers at the U.S. Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory expect new technologies to increase unmanned vehicle performance and reliability and increase drone efficiencies.

“The Army’s fleet of unmanned aircraft systems often experiences performance and reliability issues due to fuel property variations and their effects on the ignition,” said Dr. Mike Kweon, program manager for the lab’s Versatile Tactical Power and Propulsion Essential Research Program.

The university will research comprehensive multi-fuel chemistry and ignition assistant technologies, which add energy to engines for reliable ignition.

Engines require a mixture of air and fuel, and an ignition source–either spark or compression ignition–to operate. For compression-ignition engines, thermal energy generated by compression is insufficient when low ignition quality fuels are used especially at high altitudes and cold conditions.

To address this, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign researchers will investigate the ignition chemistry of fuels using machine learning algorithms, develop materials for novel ignition assistant technologies for flexible fuel UAVs, and investigate advanced propulsion technologies for high speed air launch effects in collaboration with Army scientists and researchers.

“We are thrilled to be taking part in development of new technologies that will be integrated into new UAV propulsion systems in the future for the Army. Equally important is training the next generation of engineers who can serve our nation in this field of science,” said Prof. Tonghun Lee, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign. “This partnership is very exciting. The laboratory set out on a mission to operationalize science for transformational overmatch.”

Part of effort will expand the team to include experts in academia, small businesses and industry to push concepts and ideas into future capabilities for the Army, Lee said.

“The University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign has expertise and capability to perform research in multi-fuel chemistry and ignition assistance in a partnership with the Army to advance these technologies and to provide future capabilities for the warfighter,” he said.

This university-led research project is one of 11 funded this summer by the Army’s corporate laboratory as a part of Center for UAS Propulsion efforts to develop technologies for multi-fuel capable hybrid-electric engines. Each university partner is helping the Army address the energy demand required to power future unmanned vehicles. The Army awarded additional funding for similar research at the University of Minnesota; University of Michigan; University of Wisconsin-Madison; University of Illinois at Chicago; Iowa State University; University of Delaware; University of North Texas; Texas A&M University; University of Missouri and University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

The research, slated to begin this fall, is part of a larger research portfolio of multi-fuel capabilities technologies led by the laboratory that supports the Army Modernization Priority for Future Vertical Lift. Most recently, the laboratory announced the development of a new, advanced scientific model that will allow vehicle maintenance specialists to turn to bio-derived fuels in austere locations, as well as efforts to convert a home-based generator into a power source for autonomous ground and air vehicles.

By US Army CCDC Army Research Laboratory Public Affairs

Goal Zero Yeti X Line of Portable Power Stations

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

The Yeti X Line of Portable Power Stations is the latest update for Goal Zero’s flagship product. They offer integrated maximum power point tracking (MPPT) and USB-C Power Delivery. MPPT provides up to 30% faster solar charging and USB-C Power Delivery ports allow users to fast-charge USB-C compatible devices. Additional upgrades include regulated 12V ports for significantly improved compatibility with portable refrigerators and other devices.

The Yeti X line consists of six models: Yeti 200X, 500X, 1000X, 1500X, 3000X and 6000X.

The three largest Yeti X models will include a new high power 2000W AC inverter, allowing them to power anything that typically requires a standard wall outlet. The big three Yeti X models also see increased 12V output and will charge twice as fast from wall outlets.

Additionally, Goal Zero has released a new app to control the Yeti X line, Yeti App 3.0. The upgraded app features historical power tracking, allowing users to see the energy flowing in and out of their power stations for the past days, weeks, months and years at different levels of precision. Yeti App 3.0 also introduces charging profiles, giving users the ability to customize charging modes that will optimize battery lifespan.

As an example, here is the Yeti 3000X.

The entire line isn’t available yet and will be rolled out throughout 202, so check the website for the latest availability.

www.goalzero.com/shop/yeti-x