LAS VEGAS — There are dozens of wireless charging technologies on display at CES, but FLI Charge's claim to fame is that it can deliver power to multiple gadgets — all of which have different power requirements — from the same charging strip. The key lies in a chip, which needs to be embedded in each gadget, that tells the FLI Charge strip how much juice to deliver.
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Unlike Qi wireless chargers and others of its ilk, FLI's requires metal nubs on the device come in physical contact with its charging pad: a series of metal strips plugged into the wall. It was nice that I didn't have to be as exact when dropping a laptop onto the strip (other wireless chargers require you to place them precisely in a certain area), but having metal contacts on the bottom of all your gadgets isn't very aesthetically pleasing.
While having an exposed metal strip coursing with electricity might seem rather unsafe at first, FLI uses a low voltage/high wattage combination to ensure that you don't get zapped. In fact, I placed my hand across the strip, and didn't feel so much as a tingle. However, doing so caused the strip to stop delivering power to the gadgets that it was charging.
At CES, the company showed off several demo devices, from power tools to smartphones to laptops, all with its technology embedded. Most were concepts, but FLI's charger will be present in Craftsman power tools later this year. The company also has small USB dongles, so you can use it to power smaller devices, too.
Being able to charge a laptop alongside a smartphone — or a circular saw — is a clever idea, and we'll be interested to see how well it works for ourselves.