Wireless Power’s 2009 Debut

Powermat Powers Devices Now

Powermat has magnetic induction system that is similar to what eCoupled offers, which it first demonstrated last year at CES. But while Powermat representatives talk about how the firm’s devices will boil water and power flat-screen TVs in the future, the company seeks to launch consumer products without waiting for device manufactures to get on board first.

Powermat will offer five different styles of a thin charging mat by this fall: from a modular mat that can charge up to six devices to three-device mats to put by your bed and a folding model for travel, with prices between $129 and $159. If you want to charge a laptop as well as phones, iPods, headsets, cameras, GPS receivers, and other small devices, you’ll need the PC+ model. The PC+ model has a power disk that you plug into a laptop and place on the mat (which can charge two smaller devices at the same time).

One mat can charge several devices, but each device will need a $30 charging adaptor, which can be built into a protective case or a dock. While most devices will initially require a "power disc" that plugs in, you gain efficiency by not having multiple power-wasting adaptors plugged into the outlet. So far there are around 10 different adaptors.

Like eCoupled, Powermat can get data back from the device through the charging connection, so it knows what voltage to send and when to stop charging. It also promises to transfer data to devices in the future "at very efficient rates," so you could charge and sync your iPod at the same time.

You’ll be able to choose from a range of charging mats and Powermat will have adaptors for existing devices. 

The puck-like power discs aren’t yet small or convenient, but they let you charge devices that won’t fit in a dock or a case.

The same Powermat works with charging cases, charging docks, and devices designed for Powermat, like a clock.

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  • ravenware
    Great article!

    I would like to know more about the technology actually works (I am assuming some sort of bluetooth, given the speed rating of 1.1Mbs)

    This idea had popped in to my noodle a couple years ago, didn't know companies were actually developing the technology.
  • Anonymous
    raven, it's electromagnetic induction - one coil produces an electromagnetic field and the other picks it up using near-field conductivity; the same property used by radio and gps antennae. You modulate the field to provide different voltage; you can also modulate it to transfer data in the signal (think HomePlug).

    To misquote (I think) Marconi:
    The telegraph is like a cat with its head in New York and its tail in London and when you pull the tail, the cat miaows. Radio is the same, but there is no cat. Wireless power is the same; there still is no cat but its eyes light up.
  • Anonymous
    don't be too much enthusiastic
    is just another source of money for theme
    and another source of cancer for us
  • neiroatopelcc
    Would be awesome to have those bosch tools! Always fully charged, and no worries about where you put the charger!
  • Anonymous
    Induction is the same principle as having a house near high voltage power lines. Sure, you can put a bundle of wire on your front lawn to harness the radiation but is it worth it to live so close? I'd rather manage power cords than deal with the health complications involved. Wireless power is a misnomer: it's unfocused inductive radiation. Check out health issues from exposure to electric fields and you'll steer clear of this technology.
  • blackbeastofaaaaagh
    A much better idea: Universal interface, highly efficient, plug-n-play AC to DC converts:
    If you have space for a wireless charging pad I can't see why you can not accomodate a DC power hub instead. Hopefully you may even start seeing these built in to wall oulets everywhere.

    I am amazed that this article mentions nothing of possible health issues of wirless charging. It does not even mention at what frequency the induction wave is transmitted at. That 98% efficiency claim sounds suspect. That probably only applies to two large coils aligned perfectly in a waveguide assembly. What if there are surrounding metal objects, especially those having metal rings? What if devices are placed perfectly on the pad?

    If the greenplug concept takes off we can finally throw away all those inefficient, product-cost-increasing, easy to loose, ugly, landfill clogging, wall warts.
  • eklipz330
    mm question:

    wouldn't stealing wireless power be cool? i mean, it'd be like stealing internet, right? lol
  • Anonymous
    Isn't ANYONE concerned about the health effects from this? Wireless energy transmission will send energy throught the air, and that energy will unquestionably be absorbed by the body in some way or the other. This should be a main concern.

    All mobile phones and other transmitting devices up until now has been approved and considered quite "safe" all because of the extremely low power they use in the transmission, but these thing will per definition transmit with HIGH power in comparison.

    Am I the only one thinking this?
  • neiroatopelcc
    toliIsn't ANYONE concerned about the health effects from this? Wireless energy transmission will send energy throught the air, and that energy will unquestionably be absorbed by the body in some way or the other. This should be a main concern.All mobile phones and other transmitting devices up until now has been approved and considered quite "safe" all because of the extremely low power they use in the transmission, but these thing will per definition transmit with HIGH power in comparison.Am I the only one thinking this?

    Nope. I just forgot the health concerns in my excitement for the tools.
    I suppose you're right. But I expect, naively perhaps, that those producing it will test it for any influence it has on peoples health, pets health and interference with life saving tech like pacemakers.
  • Anonymous
    For all but the last few pages in this article (about RF powering devices), the energy transfer technology described uses a magnetic field. This is non-ionizing radiation, which is different than ionizing radiation like that used by cell phones, wireless networking, x-rays, CT scans, etc. Exposure to magnetic fields is not known to have same risks for humans and other organisms that ionizing radiation has. The basic tenets of the technology are described pretty well here: http://www.wirelesspowerconsortium.com/technology/basic-principle-of-inductive-power-transmission.html. Safetey implications have also been studied and are detailed on another page at this site. Humans are already exposed to much higher magnetic fields than those mentioned here when they undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which is generally considered very safe. Wireless power transmission using inductive power transmission has a promising future.
  • PrangeWay
    Within the room was suspended two hard-rubber plates covered with tin foil. These were about fifteen feet apart, and served as terminals of the wires leading from the transformers. When the current was turned on, the vacuum bulbs or tubes, which had no wires connected to them, but lay on a table between the suspended plates, or which might be held in the hand in almost any part of the room, were made luminous. These were the same experiments and the same apparatus shown by Mr. Tesla in London about two years ago, where they produced so much wonder and astonishment
    1893 btw.
  • TeraMedia
    A static magnetic field has not been found to cause health problems. But these are highly-dynamic magnetic fields. I thought that the Maxwell equations that govern this stuff state that a changing magnetic field is necessarily associated with an electrical field. That then could be harmful to living organisms.

    I'm not all that concerned with the plate-style chargers. They are basically transformers in which 1/2 of the transformer is in the charger, and the other 1/2 is in the device being charged. No big deal, provided that the "lost" portion of the transmitted energy isn't high enough to hurt anything.

    I'm very concerned about the RF power delivery. I suspect that these work by having receiving antennae that are highly tuned to the power transmission frequency, kind of like water molecules in a microwave but on a much larger scale. The problem is, what else also happens to be somewhat tuned to that frequency? Certain DNA segments? Mitochondrial proteins? It doesn't have to be perfectly tuned - just enough to cause it to capture and accumulate energy, and then cause electrons to change orbits and chemical bonds to break.
  • Anonymous
    This industry seem poised to take off. I found some good info at www.wirelesspowercompanies.com as well.
  • Anonymous
    wouldn't it be quality if the energy transmitted through the air was absorbed by us and stored by our bodies and we became a sort of super-electro people, with powers like Blanka from Street Fighter (only a little less green)....
    Helllll yeahhh am I buyin one of these!!
  • Anonymous
    I am glad someone included a quote about Nicola Tesla. For those of you commenting about health risks, you should read the Wiki about him.