Oslo, Norway – April 25, 2019 – Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Powercast, a Pittsburgh, PA-based RF energy harvesting and wireless power technology company, has selected Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the core processing power and wireless connectivity for its ‘Wireless Charging Grips’. The accessory lets Nintendo Switch gamers snap their Joy-Con controllers into it for easy handling, and the embedded wireless charging capability eliminates the need to dock or plug-in their Joy-Con controllers for charging.
According to Powercast, the Wireless Charging Grips are the world’s first genuinely wireless rechargeable consumer gaming product. The grips employ Powercast’s Powerharvester® receiver to harness power sent over the air by Powercast’s PowerSpot® radio frequency (RF) wireless power transmitter. When placed into the Wireless Charging Grips, the Joy-Con controllers connect to the battery embedded in the grips and automatically recharge their internal battery as required. When the user has finished gaming, they simply set the grips down in front of the PowerSpot transmitter to automatically recharge the battery within.
The Wireless Charging Grips contain Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC, which connects and communicates wirelessly via Bluetooth LE with the on-board Nordic nRF51422 SoC in the PowerSpot transmitter. If the battery in the Wireless Charging Grips begins to run low and the grips are within range (up to 60 cm) of the wireless transmitter, the nRF52832 SoC wirelessly connects with the nRF51422 SoC to request power from the transmitter. Once verified, the PowerSpot transmitter turns on and delivers the contactless wireless power to the grips. The nRF51422 SoC also wirelessly monitors the battery status of connected devices and enables the user to employ a Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphone or tablet to remotely monitor device charge levels and set timers for the transmitter to charge devices via Powercast’s iOS or Android companion app.
The Wireless Charging Grips employ an embedded 320mAh Li-ion battery, which in turn charges the batteries in the Joy-Con controllers. The grips also act as a backup battery pack, keeping the Joy-Con batteries topped off when out of the transmitter’s range for about 38 hours of gameplay on one charge, thanks in part to the ultra low power characteristics of the Nordic SoC. The nRF52832 has been engineered to minimize power consumption with features such as the 2.4GHz radio’s 5.5mA peak RX/TX currents and a fully-automatic power management system that reduces power consumption by up to 80 percent compared with Nordic’s nRF51 Series SoCs.