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Finances & Money

Charge your electronics wirelessly…

sort of. A company called WildCharge has come up with a way to charge cellphones by setting them on top of a thin metal pad. BUT, that pad is plugged into an outlet, which is why I said “sort of”. The whole thing is called “inductive coupling”. Sounds kinda sexy.

Anyway, this article by Technology Review discusses the technology further and also highlights a few competitors such as a “plastic sheet of power” and wirelessly powered light bulbs. Obviously there are still kinks to work out, and the big thing is you need an adapter to make it work. For example, your cellphone must have a special cover that hooks into the battery for it to actually charge via the plate.

If this goes mainstream, I can imagine both good and bad consequences. Keep in mind people are trying to invent long-distance wireless electrical systems rather than just these close-contact units:

Good:

  • You get to charge all your stuff wirelessly off just a few “outlets” instead of needing to have an outlet on every wall, in every office, and even in your car.

Bad:

  • There are already numerous competing methods, interfaces, adapters, etc. One of the biggest problems now is that every stinkin appliance and phone uses a different power plug. Why can’t my old Nokia charger just work with my new LG phone, or my printer plug work with my laptop? THAT’S the problem here!
  • How do you control people from using YOUR electricity as it’s being projected wirelessly? Would every device require a passcode to allow it onto your power network?

What other pros and cons can you think of? Have you been exposed to this technology already? What’s your impression?

About the author

Clever Dude

3 Comments

  • The “pad” would be about a foot square and you’d have to lay your chargeable devices right on the pad. No need to worry about someone stealing your energy unless you put your charging pad on the front step.

  • It is not related to Apple’s PSU. That magnet is merely holding the plug in place.

    Inductive coupling couples two coils magnetically like a transformer. One coil would be in the pad. The other one would be in the “battery” you would have to install. When you bring them close, the magnetic field from the coil in the pad induces a current in the coil in the battery of the cell phone.

    Of course this is not as efficient as a piece of wire. There are resistive losses in the coils. In addition eddy currents are induced in the surrounding metal parts e.g. the phone, the keys next to the phone, ..

    This will cost you some extra electricity (my guess: 10-20%), but probably not more than the fancy gadget costs in the first place given the small consumption of a cell phone.

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