Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wireless Charging Coming This Year

While I did not attend CES 2009, one of the hot emerging products was wireless charging. Powermat was there showing off its family of charging mats (using inductive coupling) for mobile devices like cell phones, PDAs, etc. They are very efficient (like 93%) so charging is relatively fast and they should be available soon (maybe Q2 this year). These mats would would cost about $100 so they are reasonably priced for a first to market, high tech product.

Fulton is taking a different approach with their wireless charging technology dubbed eCoupled. They are working with large consumer product companies to integrate their product into various consumer applications including automobiles where you could sit your device in a box in the dashboard of your car for charging.

Leggett & Platt is part of the Fulton Partnership and was displaying a system that it says is more flexible than others. It can charge larger devices, with power tools being an early target market. Image shelves that you could set your power tools on that would charge them automatically or having you kitchen counter top capable of charging your blender, toaster, etc. There could come a day when we have no more power outlets in our home, just walls that inductively charge our electronics and run our lights, appliancies, etc.

One big application is TV sets and with wireless HD starting to evolve (there are currently 3 different standards), there would be no need for wires on your nice new flat screen HDTV. That would really simplify mounting them to a wall with wireless power and have your set top box transmit wireless HD signals to it. We might finally be able to use our high tech toys without wires!

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