And this would be hearing devices. So this
would be... Imagine your earbuds, like you
might find from Apple or Samsung type devices.
Jason, can you walk us through these? Because I
think this is the first case where we're seeing
sort of multiple receivers in a product. So,
walk us through your thoughts here please.
So, for hearing devices, first question,
what is the size of the product? And what's the
size of the antenna required? If you think of
an earbud, such as an AirPod or the Samsung
Galaxy Buds or the Pixel Buds, your sizes
of antennas are going to be very restricted.
In addition to that, due to the form factor,
you're more than likely going to need an
antenna that's flexible to adjust to the
extremely tight cramped design that these
products tend to have. As a result, I
immediately remove low frequency and low frequency
hybrid, just because of the magnetics required,
lots of windings, turns, relatively thick, and not
flexible. RF has a good potential solution here,
because the antennas can be printed on flexible
substrates, they can potentially be onboard chips.
And the similar thing for NFC and High-Frequency,
we're talking about nanohenrys. So,
one couple turns only on a flexible substrate.
This allows us to integrate and not have to
change the industrial design of the product.
Great. And so moving on to the distance between
receivers and the number of receivers, this
seems to be a departure from the other things
that we've talked about.
That's correct. So
earbuds, you have to have them, basically you
need to be able to charge two different devices.
With RF, the radio frequency wireless
power, you have the ability to charge these
multiple devices at once. One of the interesting
things here though is, if you look at the use case
of earbuds and what people are used to the gold
standard right now is the Apple AirPods. Everyone
has the case, the case prevents you from losing
your AirPods. And as you place them in there,
they snap, they feel good, and you know that you
always have them with you. One of the issues that
you would run into with RF in this specific
application is that, if you are trying to
charge your AirPods while they're inside
your case, it becomes very difficult
because RF still has kind of line of sight.
You're going to have lots of metal inside the
product, that'll prevent you from hitting the
necessary power levels you're looking for. If
you're wearing them in your ears, again you're
walking around the room, but you might not be
able to always get a charge. The second thing,
from an NFC standpoint, and from High-Frequency
standpoint, the fact that we are operating under
low coupling, we could potentially charge two
devices with one transmitter, reducing costs and
complexity of the system. In the form factors
that we're talking about, the small form factors,
the high frequency of operation also lends itself
to a better performance. That is why I give NFC
and High-Frequency also a thumbs up in this case.
We move to question three. It looks like when we
start talking about data transfer capabilities,
we're seeing some strengths in some
areas and some weaknesses in others.
That's correct. So the pogo pins on your earbuds,
or the little plates on the bottom of your
AirPods, have multiple purposes. Not only do they
provide power to charge your earbuds, they also
usually have a data path to enable
the case to talk with the earbuds,
understand the levels of battery that they
have, and other functionality that's necessary,
to give the user experience that you're
looking for. RF and NFC both have higher
data capabilities, that let you address
these issues similar to the wrist wearables,
to give the functionality that you currently have
using pogo pins, but now over a wireless link.
High-Frequency, we are limited 10 kilobits a
second, so that's enough for you. It might be able
to work, but if there's anything required greater
than that, we might have to use an out-of-band
communication technology, which a lot of these
buds already have. However, again, in a dead
battery situation, or a scenario where you don't
want to have crosstalk, it becomes difficult with
that lower data rate. So, that's why I gave the
thumbs up to RF and NFC as the main technologies.
Great. And so, now we start to look at question
four and the power levels. This reminds me a
little bit of the conversation about the
wrist wearables. What are you seeing here
with respect to power and charging the devices?
So, let's think about the use case, your earbuds
are charging within a case. From an RF technology
standpoint, the size of the transmitters required,
and the cost of those to be placed inside
an earbud case, is a non-starter for me. If
you're talking about the use case where they're
in your ear and you walk into an RF enabled room,
there is potential that they'll trickle charge
appropriately, because the power levels are
relatively low. However, because of that first
scenario that I described, I give it a minus
because it just won't be able to match up to the
experience that people are currently expected.
With NFC, you have the ability to design a much
more cost competitive compact design that can fit
inside the earbud case, and provide a quick charge
similar to what the pogos are doing nowadays.
High-Frequency, it also gives you the
necessary power that we're looking at,
but there are some other considerations that you
have to look at, but it is a viable technique.
Great. And then the last bit again also reminds
me of what we looked at in the wrist wearables
from a interoperability and infrastructure
standpoint. Walk us through that one more time,
and why RF and High-Frequency might not offer
what you need, whereas NFC is strong there.
Like I mentioned earlier, the NFC form ratified
WLC, there are rumors that cell phones are
going to have NFC charging enabled in them.
So as you can see, the infrastructure for
these low powered devices is being developed.
For example, you forget your case at home, and
all of a sudden you need to be able to charge your
earbuds up quickly, being able to use a mobile
battery pack like your cell phone, is going to
be perfect for that application. Additionally, NFC
provides a lot of user experience as benefit as
well. Potentially being able to tap to pair your
earbuds, whether it's via the case or via how the
earbuds themselves, it gives an additional feature
that product developers can utilize to not only
improve the user experience, but also increase
the value that they're bringing to the market.
Perfect. Jason, thanks for running us through
that one. We have one more prepared, which is
shoes and insoles, but we promised our audience
that we would try to take a suggestion or two,
of products that maybe they're
thinking about or working on,
where we could run through this scenario kind of
on the fly. So, at this point in time, if there's
anybody that has a product that they'd like to
suggest, we might need to ask a few qualifying
questions, but if you'd like to suggest that and
put that in the chat, we can take a look at that.
So I'm seeing one suggestion, and this is
a growing category for wireless charging,
it's smart glasses. Jason, can you walk
us through that, describe the product
category a little bit and some of their
attributes related to size and power level,
and where you might need that out there and why?
Yeah, of course. When I think of smart glasses,
I think of the user experience first. As a result,
the first question I'm going to ask myself is,
what is the coil-to-coil distance,
and how many receivers need to charge.
If you look at a pair of glasses, you have two
temples, and the glasses usually go into a case.
The temples can fold on either way, so you can
have the left one over the right one, or the
right one over the left one, which gives you a
lot of variability in your charging distances.
As a result, if you place your glasses into your
case, you want to make sure that they charge
every single time. So, the coil-to-coil
distance and the variability of that,
and potentially needing to charge two temples
at once, instantly makes me think of RF, NFC,
or High-Frequency. This addresses a lot of
that misalignment, the low coupling scenarios,
and the ability to charge multiple devices
at once, utilizing a single transmitter.
The second question I would ask myself is, what
is the power level required for this specific
type of product? From experience, we see
smart glasses ranging on the 500 milliwatt to
two watt range of power transfer. Because
of that, I'm going to have to nix RF,
just because it cannot provide the necessary
power, without the built-in infrastructure.
And even with the built-in infrastructure,
it's still very, very small amounts. So,
NFC and High-Frequency with their capabilities,
NFC up to three Watts, and High-Frequency more
than that, makes me move to NFC and High-Frequency
being the leading candidates of technology. The
third question I'm going to ask myself is, does
the product need data transfer capabilities
greater than 10 kilobits, a second? Glasses... You
want to be able to have a great user experience.
I'm thinking, being able to take your pair of
glasses off, and tap it to the back of your phone,
utilizing NFC to help pair your glasses
directly to your mobile device without any
worry, or being able to do the same thing with
the case. NFC, in my mind, takes the cake here.
High-Frequency still requires proprietary
in-band communication. The data levels are
lower, and if you do want to increase
it, you still have to use Bluetooth,
which NFC already has a leg up on, because
people implement tapped pair all the time.
Based off those three initial questions,
NFC is the clear path for me, for
AR smart classes at this time, to be able to get
something out to market, and give the experience
that people are looking for.
Terrific, Jason, thank you.
What about a medical device or an
implantable device, Jason? There's been some
research and work done on that, NuCurrent has been
involved in that type of technology for some time,
how do you see an implanted device?
So implanted devices are interesting.
One, the first question I'm going to ask myself
here is, what is the coil-to-coil distance
required? So, anytime you implant a device
inside the human body, you must account for
a certain amount of variability of the angles
and charge distances that you're going to get to,
different tissue thicknesses, different
levels of fat muscle, other tissue,
water content, are all going to affect the
wireless power transfer of an implantable device.
So when I look at this, I start to think, okay,
the distance is going to be relatively variable,
it's going to be a low coupling
situation. RF technologies cannot...
With the electromagnetic fields usually
attenuate extremely quickly in water,
so we have to rely on a magnetic based solution.
So that leads me to NFC and High-Frequency.
We have done quite a bit of models of different
frequencies within the body, and we found
through testing the different ISM bands, 13.5,
six and six, seven, eight megahertz that, six,
seven, eight megahertz tends to be more efficient,
and also provide easier methods of passing SAR
and other regulatory requirements. So from that
standpoint, I can eliminate a lot of the initial
questions, based off the coil-to-coil distance
and the environment that we're placing this in.
High frequency six, seven, eight would be
the appropriate technology for this kind of
application. We can go into power levels and data
capabilities, but based off that, it's easy to
eliminate the rest of the technologies.
Very interesting, thank you Jason.