Recharging your laptop, ipod or cell phone could become as easy as surfing the web wirelessly with revolutionary wireless-energy products capable of delivering real time, wireless charging - spaghetti wires and multiple chargers could soon be relics of the past.
Wireless-energy also known as WiTricity is not a new discovery - Nikola Tesla a physicist and engineer was unsuccessful with his experiments over a century ago due to lack of funding. Most recently MIT scientists completed an experiment where they were able to light a 60W light bulb from a power source seven feet (more than two meters) away - there was no physical connection between the source and the appliance.
Now a company called Powermat, one of several companies show casing wireless power products at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week has designed a Powermat which can charge upto 6 different Powermat enabled electronic devices.
Based on principles of magnetic induction, the Powermat technology renders traditional conductive charging technology obsolete, in favor of an entirely new energy distribution process which is designed for use at home, the office and on the road.
Electronic devices consume on average 75% of their energy when the device is not in use according to the U.S. Department of Energy, but with this design energy consumption is more efficient.
Powermat's inductive technology pairs an ultra-thin mat (5 models to choose from) with a variety of receivers, which connect to your favorite electronic devices. Future applications could be embedded directly into walls, ceilings, tabletops or other surfaces, enhancing virtually any surface to become an invisible connectivity point for wire-free energy. The system even allows for the wireless transmission of data - audio & video - allowing users to sync their iPods or transmit video to their TVs at very efficient transfer rates.
The company claims that there is no product on the market that can charge simultaneously your ipod, laptop or cellphone etc using a single plug.
Another company Fulton Innovation who are exhibiting at the show, with their partners - Texas Instruments, Energizer, Leggett & Platt and Bosch Power Tools - will feature over a dozen new applications and products that will demonstrate wireless power in the home, office, garage, and beyond. Their eCoupled technology eliminates the need for power cords by creating an electromagnetic conduit combined with an intelligent control system that constantly monitors the power flow to insure optimal efficiency and safety.
Energizer Battery, Inc
Energizer and Fulton are working together to develop an efficient and intelligent wireless power solution that will charge a portable handheld light without the need for a power cord. The Energizer® Hard Case® Professional® eCoupled Swivel Light works with the Leggett & Platt eCoupled in-vehicle wireless console charger to give professionals a light that's always charging and always available. The hard case waterproof flashlight features a flexible 125º rotating head and will run on an AA rechargeable battery pack.
Additionally, the flashlight will feature four different lighting modes. Energizer will be launching the Energizer Hard Case Professional eCoupled Swivel Light in North America in mid-2009.
Leggett & Platt, Inc
As the low and medium-power supplier for the primary (or charging) side of the eCoupled connection, Leggett & Platt, will integrate eCoupled technology into its vehicle interior shelving systems, computer cradles and consoles to provide wireless power to everything from power tools to laptops. Leggett's Center Console Pocket, with two separate charging areas, will be able to charge flashlights and cell phones. To the right of the driver, a computer cradle will hold and power laptop computers. Finally, the van interior shelving system, installed in the back of the vehicles, will be able to hold and power Bosch power tools through a specially designed toolbox that locks securely into the shelf. All consoles and shelving systems will be able to power devices even when the vehicle's engine is turned off.
Bosch Power Tools and Accessories
Bosch has integrated eCoupled technology into its new line of 18-volt lithium ion cordless power tools. The Bosch tools can be charged by placing them on an eCoupled-enabled tool shelf or work surface, eliminating the need for power cords or battery chargers on jobsites. Bosch's first eCoupled-enabled products will be introduced in 2009.
PowerBeam has a system that turns electricity into an invisible laser, and then literally beams it, as heat, across the room to a solar cell that converts it back into electricity.
Their laser can currently generate about 1.5 watts of power to a solar cell 10 metres away. This would be enough to power an electronic speaker or small LED (light-emitting diode) lights, but not enough to operate a laptop, which requires an estimated 30 to 50 watts. However, the company claims that the technology could comfortably be scaled up.
They are expected to demonstrate the technology to power a set of small wireless speakers at CES 2009.
An alternative to beamed electric power will be energy harvesting - the use of ambient energy. Both are likely to involve printed electronics and electrics.