Estimates suggest that the number of connected devices worldwide will increase to 50-200 billion by 2020, with global spending reaching 1.7 trillion in that same year. Connected devices are used at multiple levels of society, from a personal level (wearable devices) to community level (smart cities). Energy consumption demands are increasing exponentially due to the development of processor- heavy applications, higher data communication rates and technologies, and increased usage of multimedia content. To power these device are the constraints of battery technology, limited by size constraints and unable to keep up with the expansion of power needs. Battery-related demands remain a concern in many military, consumer, factory and commercial markets.
Existing wireless energy transfer charging systems have limitations such as low charging rates, need for line-of-sight alignment, and close contact with the device to be charged.
Technology Overview
In this invention, a controllable, programmable distributed wireless radio frequency (RF)-based charging system and method are described. The hardware platform includes programmable energy transmitters (ETs) and adaptive energy harvesters coupled with energy-receiving target devices. 
Under the software control, the energy transmitters cooperatively form focused beams of energy to transmit power to a set of target devices using radio frequencies within, for example, a license-free industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) band. The energy-receiving target devices, such as sensors, Internet of Things (IoT) enabled appliances, and mobile and/or wearable equipment, are coupled with the adaptive energy harvesters to utilize the energy contained within the transmitted beams, as well as ambient RF sources, for directly powering their operation or for charging a battery and/or capacitor for subsequent use.
- Higher levels of adaptation and configurability for wireless charging 
- Higher wireless charging rates as well as charging distances through spatially distributed wireless beam forming 
- More flexibility, security, and ease of use through integrated and centralized management, distributed energy transfer, intelligent adaptations, and learning-based estimations 
- Efficient and high levels of RF harvesting through design of the integrated multi-band harvester that captures and adapt to both ambient and controlled energy beams 
- Higher reliability and scalability for dynamic and mobile applications 
- No need for tight alignment between the chargers and devices and short-contacts 
- IIoT in remote or inaccessible sites
- Smart City
- Smart home
- License
- Research collaboration
- Partnering
Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Mark Saulich
Associate Director of Commercialization
Northeastern University
Kaushik Chowdhury
Yousof Naderi