The Internet of Things & Your Bike


How many things do you have on you or your bike which need charging? The most obvious one is a mobile phone, but there could also be lights, Sat Nav, and wearables such as FitBit, to name some of the most obvious ones.

Now, what if those automatically started charging, the moment you arrived home, without you having to remove the items from the bike or your pocket and remembering to plug them all in to the main or a USB port? It works within a 30 foot radius and charges multiple devices at the same time when they are in range, then transmitter even hibernates when no devics are in range.

Well, that technology is on its way. There’s a company called Ossia, based in Bellevue, Washington, in the USA, who have developed and so far got 7 patents on 200 inventions based around their “Cota” technology. I wonder if that stands for “Charging over the air” as that is in essence what the technology does.

Jordanian born and Manchester University educated Hatem Zeine, the inventor of the technology, asks “Did you know that when you’re listening to the radio in the car, the antenna is actually receiving a little bit of the power that is sent out by the radio station antenna? The radio station is emitting signals, but actually it’s power, and some of that little bit of power is ending up on your car antenna, and then that’s amplified to make a sound.”

Ossia’s Cota system sends out a microsecond pulse signal. Like with radar, any device that is detected reflects a signal back to the transmitter, which then knows what is out there and importantly the path to it, which doesn’t have to be line of sight. The strength of the signal is restricted by regulatory authorities, meaning that it would charge at one third to one fifth of the speed of USB. But imagine if your favourite catering stop on your ride, or the office you commute to by bike, also had an Ossia transmitter: your devices would be refuelling while you are.

Cota receivers are small (as you can see from the image of one on top of a US cent) and can be embedded into devices without impacting their size and design characteristics. If a device can use WiFi, Cota leverages its WiFi antenna to receive power. The receivers are sufficiently small that they can fit inside standard-sized batteries. Companies are starting to be licensed to use this technology.

Expect to see this technology entering the bike and bike accessory market soon. In the meantime, Ossia have a website if you want more information.



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