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Mount Pearl wireless energy developer adds new tools to arsenal

Solace Power founder and president Kris McNeil at the company’s laboratory in Mount Pearl on Tuesday afternoon.
Solace Power founder and president Kris McNeil at the company’s laboratory in Mount Pearl on Tuesday afternoon. - Joe Gibbons

Solace Power expands lab facility

Solace Power continues to be a revolutionary leader in wireless power.

And to make sure it continues to be a leader in this marketplace, it has added a newly expanded lab space and engineers who are at the forefront of developing the wireless energy technology they are always working to enhance.

Solace held an open house Tuesday afternoon to showcase to the world the opening of their newly expanded lab facility, the addition of key members of the engineering team and a soon-to-be-completed Anechoic Chamber.

The chamber, still under construction, is an enclosed aluminum box designed to keep other signals out and eliminate interference in the testing of products Solace is developing for its clients.

John Dolson, one of the latest additions as a director for the engineering team, said the chamber is like an elevator, but its application is different.

“If you have ever been on an elevator and were able to still use your cellphone, that means there are cracks in the seams that allow the radio waves in to continue your call,” Dolson explained.

“When this chamber is done, it will be a completely sealed aluminum box that will keep the signals out so we can measure the noise we are making.”

Dolson and electrical design engineer Chris Newport demonstrated what signals the chamber will allow Solace to test inside the unit. To test any new product, it will be placed inside with an antenna, and the data shown on the EMI test receiver will be only what is being generated inside the chamber, filtering out any other interference during the process.

It will show electromagnetic compliance and electromagnetic interference.

“This is a big step for us. Our engineering team has grown over the past 18 months and we now have a proper electronic lab for development,” Solace founder Kris McNeil said Tuesday.

“We have outgrown our space, so this expansion and the addition of an Anechoic chamber lets us do a lot of development and testing, precertification of the products we are working on in-house. That lets us figure out the technology we are developing,” he said, noting the work is being done for companies that include Boeing and Lockheed Martin, just two of the Fortune 100 companies Solace is contracted to.
“And this is coming from little old Newfoundland.”

The lab expansion has gone from 2,500 feet to more than 9,000 and McNeil considers that a bit of a give and take as they are not only expanding the space, but the team that will operate out of it.

Included in that expansion are Dolson and Max Rahm, both engineers holding 25 years of experience with other tech-giant companies. In addition, the company has added a new CEO, United States based, to the team in Michael Gotlieb.

“Michael’s depth of knowledge and experience brings with him a knowledge of electricity manufacturing to build what we need to do here,” McNeil said.

Expanding the facility allows the team to develop new technology, and do more and better research that allows Solace to react better to customers’ product requests.

Gotlieb joined Solace in early October from wireless power solutions provider NuCurrent, where he led all customer interactions and guided the strategy and product roadmap.

His 25-year global technology career includes experience in embedded electronics, analog/power, software and services across a multitude of end markets.

He has served in several strategic leadership roles, including with Motorola and its IPO spin-out, Freescale Semiconductor.

“Wireless power is not necessarily new, but this incarnation of where it is today is revolutionary,” Gotlieb said.

“We are taking the basic principles and now are taking them to the next level. It is one thing to do it in the lab, and then take it and commercialize it and put it into everyday production,” he added.

Gotlieb said an example of the technology is generally seen in wireless phones, such as the technology now being employed in Apple’s latest flagship phone and since 2015, in Samsung smartphones.

He said Solace is not going after that market.

“Behind the scenes, the breadth of it, we are at the beginning of a wave of new ways to transfer power,” he said.

“We are looking at electronic field wireless power. The one in phones is magnetic. Both have great uses, but if we go in this direction we broaden the applicability,” he said.

Goltlieb said the useful and greater application of this generation of wireless power is advantageous in military, medical and industrial applications. He said these applications are left to the imagination of the engineers developing the products, while at the same time focusing on delivering power to a more intelligent environment.

“We are just at the very beginning of this, literally at the hockey stick. We are starting a wave of wirelessly powered enabled devices,” he said.

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