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STMicroelectronics unveils toolset to ensure IoT cyber-protection; Identiv, Schreiner Group to provide RFID inlays for medical anti-counterfeiting; ProxiGroup RFID Solutions offers site-survey system using RFID, IoT; Pod Group enables Alemetic Systems to transport valuable cargo across African jungle; Powercast's long-range wireless power technology gains three FCC approvals; Patron Technology acquires RFID cashless payments company Token Systems.
By Rich Handley

Powercast's Long-Range Wireless Power Technology Gains Three FCC Approvals

Powercast has announced that its RF-based long-range over-the-air wireless power technology has received three new certifications from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)—totaling seven since 2007—adding retail applications to the company's existing FCC approvals for deployments in consumer, commercial and industrial environments. Powercast's technology works in the far field to charge multiple devices over the air, without range limitations from the FCC, and without requiring wires, charging mats or direct line of sight.

Two of Powercast's three new certifications clear updated versions of its FCC-Part-15-approved PowerSpot and Powercaster far-field transmitters, now under FCC Part 18, to provide wireless power over distance in on-shelf retail applications. Examples include wirelessly illuminated product packaging, interactive end-cap displays and electronic paper displays, such as electronic shelf-edge labels.

The Part-18-approved transmitters can provide continuous power to many devices, such as Powercast's Batteryless RFID Retail Price Tag with an E Ink screen, launched in 2018 at the RFID Journal LIVE! conference and exhibition (see New Label Changes Displayed Price Data With Power from RFID). Retailers can place a Powercast wireless power transmitter on a shelf to power electronic marketing features like illumination, sound or color changes that are designed into packaging or displays to showcase products on a shelf.

Retailers can use these transmitters to charge or directly power any enabled consumer devices that they place on the shelf for sale, the company reports, such as smart watches, headphones or computer peripherals, enabling customers to leave with their new devices fully charged and ready for use. These updated transmitters (FCC IDs YESTX91513 and YESTX91511B) use Powercast's PowerSpot and Powercaster three-watt (EIRP) hardware platforms with modified firmware. They are available immediately from Powercast and will be sold in the coming weeks by distributors Mouser, Digikey and Arrow Electronics.

Powercast worked with the FCC to gain these additional Part 18 approvals as part of its partnership with PPG. The companies are jointly developing ultra-thin and wirelessly powered printed electronics products that provide indefinite illumination and other electronic marketing features without wires, batteries, charging ports or contact with a power source. The third new FCC approval is a re-certification under Part 15 of Powercast's original Powercaster transmitter (FCC ID YES TX91501B), which has been redesigned with updated components to enable large-scale manufacturing.

"We are proud to announce our fifth, sixth, and seventh long-range wireless power FCC approvals," said Charles Greene, Powercast's chief operating and technical officer, in a prepared statement. "From our first Part 18 far-field approval in 2007, we have worked with our customers to provide deployable solutions that meet their real-world requirements. We've enjoyed working with the FCC over the years to bring tangible RF wireless power to various applications, and now to on-shelf retail applications. We have a great relationship with the FCC because of our no-nonsense approach to deploying effective RF wireless power solutions. The FCC has never restricted the distance over which our technology can operate, differentiating it from other wireless power-over-distance technologies. Powercast plans to maintain our approach as we continue to lead the deployments of RF wireless power."

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