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Splashpower Boasts Wireless Power

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the need-one-big-enough-to-sleep-on dept.

Power 246

Sullivan writes "Maccentral is running a story on a startup called Splashpower that hopes to be able to wirelessly recharge all of our handheld devices. They have a working prototype that already recharges an iPod Mini and a cell phone. Now we can look forward to yet another way to get brain cancer."

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246 comments

but what about lost efficiencies? (5, Interesting)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758172)

I think this is a very cool device and have often wondered why more devices haven't come with wireless re-chargability (think electric toothbrushes). But I wonder about the efficiency of this method. Is it? And if it's not, how less efficient is it than direct contact recharging? As more and more gadgets and devices become rechargable technology this would seem to be more important. I don't know much about electronics at the engineering level, so any erudite replies would be appreciated.

Its about time (5, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758235)

http://home.howstuffworks.com/question292.htm [howstuffworks.com]

My electric shaver recharges this way, and i've been wondering why we don't just have a pad that we can toss our electric gadgets onto for recharging.

My wish has been granted!

As for efficiency, I'll refer you to DansData, because he knows the answer to everything.
  Your Answer Here [dansdata.com]

Two hits in the efficiency chain? (2, Interesting)

nobodyman (90587) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758422)

Excellent link from the parent -- I have an electric toothbrush that charges the same way and I've always wondered how efficient it is. Apparently it isn't much worse than traditional adapters used for phones and such: about 70%.

However, if you look at the photo [macworld.com] of the splashpower base, it looks as though the base itself uses an AC adapter (the cord appears to have a male DC-power connector). If that's the case then you really have to hits in the chain, and the system is ultimately 50% efficient (.7 for the adapter that powers the base, times .7 for the "remote" charging.) Right?

Re:Two hits in the efficiency chain? (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758488)

Righto. Overall efficiency = E1 * E2. But you have to convert from AC (wall current) to DC since your device runs on DC, two conversions are necessary. At least here in the US, power is cheap so if this tech becomes cheap enough I think people will buy into it for the convenience.

-everphilski-

see GM EV1 (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758310)

It also charged this way.

It was quite efficient (>85%?), but many complained it wasn't as efficient as conductive charging.

Re:see GM EV1 (1)

joey_knisch (804995) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758409)

And what feeds that conductive charging? Do you think most wall warts are efficient? I have a power strip at my feet right now I am using as foot warmer. It puts out way more heat than my computer case. Granted I have a 80+% efficient psu, a low end gfx card, and a 35w cpu.

Re:but what about lost efficiencies? (1)

StuffMaster (412029) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758427)

My toothbrush does recharge this way (a sonic care of some sort)

How about a wirelessly rechargeable vibrator? That's what the world needs!

Did they get ahold of Tesla's research? (5, Funny)

cyberworm (710231) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758177)

This is probably how Tesla would have charged his iPod.

Re:Did they get ahold of Tesla's research? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13758346)

Actually, Tesla wanted to be able to pull power at long range. The splash pad is just a two part transformer (the pad is one coil, and the clip-on adapter is the second coil). So, it turns the electricity from the wall into magnetic pulses which are then turned back into electricity (it's not very efficient, but who needs efficiency when you're being encouraged to be lazy anyways?).

Re:Did they get ahold of Tesla's research? (5, Funny)

hazee (728152) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758378)

Yeah, except Tesla would have used a couple of million volts, giving rise to massive bloody great bursts of lightning that have a nasty habbit of electrocuting passing cattle, and whose cracks of thunder *really* annoy the villagers ten miles down the valley...

That's not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13758187)

My electric toothbrush has done this for years.

Oooh, saves me a whole 2 seconds! (2, Insightful)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758192)

Gee, "pick up the cord, plug it in" or "set on pad". Not really worth $250 to me.

Re:Oooh, saves me a whole 2 seconds! (4, Insightful)

s7uar7 (746699) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758224)

No, but once (if) it gets built into phones, if you're away on a business trip and forget your cellphone charger you'll be glad the hotel provided a pad in your room.

Re:Oooh, saves me a whole 2 seconds! (4, Funny)

cloudmaster (10662) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758263)

You forgot "clean all of the lint and crud out of the charging port" and "wiggle phone around so the contacts make good contact rather than just barely missing" in your description of the old method. You also may have forgotton "make sure that cord is at such an angle so as to facilitate minimal breakage after grabbbing and walking away without remembering to unplug it in the morning". :)

Re:Oooh, saves me a whole 2 seconds! (2, Insightful)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758319)

I agree with you to a point, but you forgot that you need the 5 cords for the 5 devices you have, with each one plugged into an outlet. So it would be convienent if you could just sit any of your devices on this and have them recharging. I mean, you set them somewhere, anyhow. Why not have them recharging each time you do so?

---John Holmes...

Re:Oooh, saves me a whole 2 seconds! (2, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758452)

"I agree with you to a point, but you forgot that you need the 5 cords for the 5 devices you have, with each one plugged into an outlet."
You are assuming that one pad will charge every device. It would be very possible to make a "standard" DC port for every device. Chargers would be universal and easy to use. Heck USB is very close right now.
The problem is none of the companies want it. They all make good money off of selling extra chargers.

Re:Oooh, saves me a whole 2 seconds! (1)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758492)

You are assuming that one pad will charge every device. It would be very possible to make a "standard" DC port for every device.

Isn't "charge every device" the whole idea? That's certainly what the company producing these is after, I'm sure. And yeah, you can make a standard DC port, but it's still one wall plug and one device per cord. Or you come up with a way to split the cords and plug them all in?

Either way, you're getting the company producing the gadgets to agree on something. Either they accept a standard DC port or incorporate a coil. The companies could maybe make just as much money selling these things as they do the extra chargers... who knows.

---John Holmes...

Both parent and grandparent are correct, IMO (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758502)

You're both right. On the whole, it really isn't a time saver, as you still have to do some plugging in and setting up. But you don't have to have so many different power plugs, all of which hurt portability. This will become more useful as we get smaller and smaller devices. This is probably the first product of a line that will progressively get better. Afterall, that's part of the point of Slashdot, right? To bring us news on cool stuff before the masses realize how cool it is in two product cycles.

Now, a question from the economics major (read: lay person) - if I try to charge multiple devices, as Parent suggests is possible, don't I risk tripping a circuit or something? Or at least them all charging slower?

Re:Oooh, saves me a whole 2 seconds! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13758341)

Considering how many wall and car chargers I've had fall appart or accidently broken $200 for an item that will charge any portable that I leave setting on it doesn't sound to bad. Come home and dump all your stuff off on a desk no plugs to fool with.

Considering it is being billed as a near universal device this is doublely attractive for use at home or work since it seems that everyone needs 4-5 different chargers for the various devices so the whole walking around "do you have a Nextel charger (someone stole my work one)?" becomes a thing of the past.

Re:Oooh, saves me a whole 2 seconds! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13758503)

You're obviously not as lazy as I am!

Wireless Mouse Pad (5, Insightful)

Nycto (138650) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758201)

My first thought when reading this: Build it in to a desk and use it as your mouse pad. Then, you would never have to charge your wireless mouse. Sweet.

Re:Wireless Mouse Pad (1)

sirmalloc (648119) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758226)

Wacom tablets do this. I recently bought my girlfriend a Wacom Graphire3 which includes a wireless mouse to use on the pad - no batteries required.

Re:Wireless Mouse Pad (1)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758373)

Eh no. Wacom tablets work on induction. Someone correct me if IM wrong :)

Re:Wireless Mouse Pad (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758418)

Splashpower Ltd., established as the result of a business competition at Cambridge University, has developed a wireless charging system that uses electromagnetic induction to accomplish wireless charging of devices.

Re:Wireless Mouse Pad (1)

ninkendo84 (577928) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758454)

I was under the impression that they work the same way as the pen-in-hand method, in that the pad itself is powered, and it simply senses where the mouse is. That's why the pad feels so awkward when the mouse is angled 45 degrees... You have to move the mouse *up* on the tablet for the pointer on the screen to move up, not just move the mouse forward.

Re:Wireless Mouse Pad (2, Insightful)

Trixter (9555) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758456)

You'd never have to charge your wireless mouse, but then you'd gain a cord back. Cord, never have to charge it... hmm, sounds just like a corded mouse to me :-)

I love my new ... (0)

Shads (4567) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758208)

... wireless charging device, it's so snazzy looking with my iPod... the cancer is just a minor byproduct.

*rofl*

Wonder what kinda phsyical ramifications this will have on people? Did they ever prove that living near high-tension power lines causes cancer?

Re:I love my new ... (1)

andrewman327 (635952) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758240)

I don't want to start a debate here, but there are arguements for and against high tension lines contributing to cancer rates.

I really don't see how this could cause an increased cancer risk, however. I mean, this does not emit as much energy as an unshielded wire, which is never cited as a cause of cancer.

Re:I love my new ... (5, Informative)

Remlik (654872) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758275)

Yes they did prove it...at least my college physics prof did by using a hypothetical line 1 foot above your head carring an impossible amout of power (1 million volts or somthing silly like that). The magnetic field generated by the line was several orders of magnitude less than the magnetic field of the earth which you are exposed to at all times.

Also the cell phone brain cancer [betanews.com] thing is becoming less and less likely.

Re:I love my new ... (3, Interesting)

Urusai (865560) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758480)

I guess the prof's theoretical calculations don't explain why HVAC lines will make a fluorescent tube light up at a distance, yet Earth's magnetic field does nothing...

Re:I love my new ... (2, Informative)

demonbug (309515) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758493)

The Earth's magnetic field is really really weak at the surface - like 30-40000 nano tesla, depending on where you are. We get exposed to many fields that are significantly stronger all the time (I definitley do - but then I work in a lab where we have several 1-2 tesla magnets going fairly often; on the otehr hand, we also have a shielded room, so I don't get exposed to Earth's magnetic field for significant portions of my day).

afroman's already done it (3, Informative)

philo_enyce (792695) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758216)

http://www.afrotechmods.com/cheap/arnoldpad/arnold pad.htm [afrotechmods.com]

still, i'd like it if this became mainstream.

philo

Re:afroman's already done it (2, Interesting)

TheGavster (774657) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758327)

I actually tried building one of these for my MX700. Winding a flat spiral inductor is WAY harder than you would think. I never got one good enough to induce anything in my secondary coil.

Lawsuits are a comin' (1, Interesting)

Karma_fucker_sucker (898393) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758218)

"It's basically the concept of creating a magnetic field that goes parallel to the surface of the pad rather than out of the pad and this has many benefits

The "I'm getting cancer and my kids have ADD because of the powerlines in my house" crowd and their lawyers are going to have a field day with this!

Re:Lawsuits are a comin' (1)

demonbug (309515) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758465)

Score: 2, Interesting

I don't think the moderator(s) get it. Maybe if you shout FIELD louder.

Wait a second... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13758222)

The summary is misleading. All it is a generic recharging pad. It doesn't require wires...but not in the sense that your device recharges through the air. You just lay your device on a pad and it charges. It's a convience I suppose - but not too exciting.

Re:Wait a second... (2, Insightful)

Shaleh (1050) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758253)

The one main advantage is the end of ac-dc adapters aka wall warts. This would get rid of each device needing its own proprietary power connector. I have a power strip of these just to recharge my own gadgets -- phone, gba, camera, etc.

Not sure I am keen on the potential healh affects though.

Proprietary power (1)

norminator (784674) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758395)

The one main advantage is the end of ac-dc adapters aka wall warts.

That would be nice, definitely... but do manufacturers want to get rid of proprietary wall warts? If they did, then why hasn't anyone come up with a universal wall wart connector specification that says that all wall wart connectors will be the same size and polarity? (I can understand defferent needs as far as voltages go.) A lot of devices tell you specifically not to use another wall wart, maybe because the average customer (non-slashdotter) doesn't know how to read the voltage, current and polarity specs. But it does seem like they don't want it that easy to use a 3rd party power adapter. Maybe they think that if your power adapter breaks, you'll just buy a new phone/PDA/MP3 player.

In any case, if this does become popular, this one Splashpower manufacturer will have to swing deals with all of the electroncis companies to get their equipment built into every device, or make adapters for each device that they're not built into, which is fine, but what if a competitor releases a similar product? Would a cell phone with a SpalshPower adapter built-in work with a chargin pad from another company? Would an external iPod adapter from another manufacturer work with a SplashPower pad?

I'm just thinking this might not quite solve the multiple wall wart problem

Isn't this just inductive power? (2, Insightful)

Kerosene (18371) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758227)

Inductive power has been around for a while, mostly in electric toothbrushes.

It's not "wireless" as the devices have to be pretty much touching the pad.

For things like mp3 players and cellphones, it's really useless unless you're completely lazy or hate charging wires with a passion.

No chance of brain cancer here, really.

Re:Isn't this just inductive power? (1)

adrianmonk (890071) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758293)

It's not "wireless" as the devices have to be pretty much touching the pad.

Are there wires running from the device to the charger? No? Then it's wireless.

It may not be what you think of when you think of wireless, but it is wireless.

Re:Isn't this just inductive power? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13758350)

To that point, when I plug a battery into a charger, there are no "wires" between the battery and the charger either. So I guess most battery chargers where the battery or device is placed into the charger are all wireless as well...

Re:Isn't this just inductive power? (2, Insightful)

erlenic (95003) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758352)

For things like mp3 players and cellphones, it's really useless unless you're completely lazy or hate charging wires with a passion.

That's me exactly. I absolutely hate having a power cord for my phone floating around in my car. I would love a pad built into the small holding tray (or whatever it could be called) that's in my center console. I already take my cell phone and PDA out of my pocket and place them there anyway, why not add effortless recharging to it?

Whats the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13758239)

It still has to sit on top of the pad to work.

nice plan but... (2, Interesting)

mSparks43 (757109) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758266)

the way I understand it, it works in exactly the same way as the transformer in every power supply... these things are short range (typically a few centemeters max) so the risk of em celular damage should be insigificant. I wonder though, how this will play with the actual electronics in the device itself. Electronics tend to get fried by high power e.m. fields, and if the device has any kind of coil that isn't intended for power coupling you may end up cooking the device?

Transformer? (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758267)

"It's basically the concept of creating a magnetic field that goes parallel to the surface of the pad rather than out of the pad and this has many benefits," said Lily Cheng, chief executive officer and cofounder of the company, speaking at a news conference. "It enables us to deliver a very uniform output across the pad and enables us to make a receiver coil that is very thin."

Sounds like they are using a basic transformer here. Only difference is that they didn't build the two coils in one solid piece. Wonder how high they can keep the efficiency here.

Re:Transformer? (1)

6L6GT (120348) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758413)

Sounds like a transformer to me as well. An interesting idea for charging things that do not rely on magnetic media. I would not let this device anywhere near an iPod. It would bulk erase the hard drive.

Wireless power is simple (1)

Washizu (220337) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758270)

Wireless power is not all that difficult to implement, just don't step in front of the beam or you are wirelessly cooked.

is this even useful? (1)

xnerd00x (92166) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758314)

It seems like to charge, it has to be touching the charging device, or at least hover very close to it. It would be really cool if, say, you were in your house and your ipod just started charging, however, I don't see that much of an advantage here vs. just taking an extra 2 seconds and plugging in a power supply. Same thing with a wireless mouse - it's cool, but in reality, it's not that useful - i mean, how far away do you really sit away from your computer?

Re:is this even useful? (1)

EdwinBoyd (810701) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758497)

Wireless mice and keyboards are a godsend for home theatre systems. I have a 42" TV and in order to watch it properly you have to be roughly 5-6 feet away. Snaking cables across the floor is ugly and you're just asking to have someone trip over them.

A wireless mouse at your desk though? Yeah that's pretty pointless.

Nice, but... (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758315)

That's all very nice, but what I'd really like to see is power cords and adapters for my tech gear just made neater.

To power my mac and accessories I have twelve separate powercords and seven different adapters making a mess under my desk. Shouldn't it be possible to make a single adapter to power all the smaller devices, and have some neat way to daisy chain little power cords for the stuff that doesn't need much power (which is most of the devices on my desk)?

Re:Nice, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13758495)


Or just maybe, one single device with one power adaptor and cord that goes that goes to a a spot on my desk. To make it even better, maybe design it so that all I have to do is set my smaller devices together near that spot on the desk and they would charge without my having to mess with all those incompatable and different connectors. Oh wait [macworld.com] maybe I should just RTFA and look at the pretty picture.

Neat-O, but gimmicky (3, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758320)

So, they have created a device that recharges devices wirelessly, if you place the device on top of the pad.

My cell phone, my beard trimmer, and my toothbrush already recharge wirelessly... sure, I have to place them in their cradles and line up the contacts, but it's still approximately the same.

What is being offered here is a universal charger system. The rest of it is bells and whistles. What Splashpower needs to do is get the device producers to incorporate the hardware necessary for this, and to get hotels etc. to install the pads.

This is problematic, as stated in the article. Device-makers won't install the charging coil unless the infrastructure for charging is in place; establishments won't purchase the charging pads unless a sufficient amount of devices have the coil installed. There's just no ROI for a hotel chain to install these in their rooms and suites, and no reason for an end-user to purchase an enabled device if chargers aren't available.

Nice idea, but don't buy stock.

Re:Neat-O, but gimmicky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13758419)

Right. And one of the main principles of good usability is that the user gets some sort of feedback--this could easily be done wrong. I mean, the user puts it down... is it actually charging? Is it working? (Could be fixed with implanted LEDs in the surface to glow near the item being charged...)

The mental model of a wire functioning like a pipe refilling the device is much easier to understand, more portable, and is very mature in making it hard for the user to plug it in wrong. Contrast this to "spooky recharging field"... That, and as parent pointed out, when you have a mobile device you want a way to recharge it in the field, even if you won't necessarily use it regularly--this pad doesn't quite do that.

Just saying that the important aspect of non-geek usability could go either way on this.

Re:Neat-O, but gimmicky (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758504)

Nice idea, but don't buy stock.

Yet.

You never know - sometimes, ideas that are good conceptually take off at the least unexpected of times.

You'd be surprised.

Just another adapter (1)

hode (771261) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758325)

To pick up the power field, gadgets must have a receiver coil built into them or have an adapter clipped on the back

Trade one adapter for another...

iPod Pico (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758518)

... buy the new iPod Pico, just like the Nano, but with an inductive coil!!! no more pesky recharging jacks!

All your dollars are belong to Apple!

-everphilski-

the wire im currently using for charging... (1)

deft (253558) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758334)

...is alot more flexible, longer, and smaller. Yes, I have to "plug it in" instead of "set it on". But my wire can be taken with me. One of them can plug into my car. both of them together are a fraction the size of this pad.

And maybe I'm not getting it, but isn't that thing plugged in?!??! If I'm not mistaken, they have only replaced the plug with a plate. When I first read the article, i was excited to think someone figured out how to charge my devices anywhere... like on a trail.

This is an example of something very cool that is impractical. I applaud them, but I will not buy their stock.

This is so old its carbon dated... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13758347)

Splashpower has, quite literally, been around since the collapse at the beginning of the '00s. They started out doing more specific product development (talking about recharge pads and the like), but in recent years all I've heard about is the fact they've been trying to work the licensing angle and had signed a couple of agreements with a car parts manufacturer.

Basically this seems like a natural evolution of the toothbrush (Sonicare, etc.) concept in a very useful way. Of course who wouldn't want a simple pad on which to drop all your assorted techn gobbledygook (PDA, phone, MP3 player, etc.). That said, whether this will EVER make it to market is an entirely different question.

I have to say that after like 5 years I'm a little suspect.

Best,
rt

Luckily, I knew they didn't create anything useful (1)

hellomynameisclinton (796928) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758354)

so when I read the article I wasn't disappointed. I bought an electric toothbrush that has a charging cradle, no contact points, no wires. Same thing, minus the ipod attachment [pauses to think about patenting the mp3 toothbrush with wireless power].

The term "wireless power" is technically correct, but not in any way that anybody would care about. This is limited by proximity, like any old inductor or transformer. If you have a cord to the wall, and must be near it, why not plug in your dock instead, and get data communication as well? It's really not inconvenient and certainly not difficult to plug things into available power sockets, so please stop trying to solve this "problem".

I'll save my excitement for when we start figuring out how to make Tesla's dreams come true.

flash memory, hard drives and magnets don't mix... (1)

javaxman (705658) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758355)

I could be worrying about nothing, perhaps the power levels involved in the fields are too low to cause problems, but... do I really want to be setting my iPod or other memory-chip or mini-hard-drive device on an inductive pad?

I mean, it's fine for my toothbrush ( if a tad slow an inefficient compared to a direct cable connection )... but is that cable to my iPod really such a problem, and might it not be a tad dangerous for my precious data to place it directly on an inductive surface ?

Finally! (1)

aarku (151823) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758358)

At last the technology of electric toothbrushes from the '80s today in our handheld devices!

Regeneration Cycle (1)

minginqunt (225413) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758360)

Wake me up when they scale this technology up to the point when it can regenerate *me* in my own personal Borg Alcove.

Oh, the japes you could have with one of these pads. I bet with a little bit of careful soldering, you could make any mobile phone that comes within its vicinity explode scalding Lithium Hydroxide all over the owner's suppirating, unexpectant face.

Hilarity ensues.

iPod mini... (1)

iolaus (704845) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758361)

Why didn't they build an adapter for a normal iPod? Oh yea, the hard drive in a magenetic field thing.

Honestly, I can't personally forsee a lot of uses for this (other than the mousepad idea mentioned which has merrit).

Saw one a few years ago... (1)

altek (119814) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758368)

I remember someone I worked with had one of these... the tech isn't new, but I swear there is already a product on the market that is pretty much identical to this. It was probably 2 years ago at least, and I remember she had an adapter on her cell phone and a few other devices that were charging just by sitting on the pad. I just tried searching google (haphazardly) and wasn't able to find them though...

A "cable-free" PC? (1)

sorrodos (693108) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758369)

Would it be possible to combine this type of technology with Bluetooth (or some other wireless technology) in a case to create PC internals that didn't require cables to be ran to them for data and power?

If that would work, the case could be shielded to prevent your neighbors from snooping on the data being transmitted over the air from your HD to your controller, etc.

I'm not a hardware person, so maybe this wouldn't be possible, but it would be pretty cool if it were...

what does wireless bring here? (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758386)

For a mouse, I get it, it's exactly the same as the Wacom batteryless pen tables. EXACTLY. It's not new.

But for other stuff, this only adds complication. I mean, you might as well just say all devices should have the same charging connector so you don't have to have multiple wall warts. That would work as well as this.

And no better.

There's still problems with voltages/power draws and trying to charge multiple devices at once.

I can think of 5 other steps which are a lot better than this one, and each is closer to reachable than this.

Sounds Familiar? Try Another! (2, Informative)

loyukfai (837795) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758397)

At least this [slashdot.org] is more than half year old.

OTOH, this [cityu.edu.hk] maybe a bit more refreshing.

Useful for laptops? (1)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758402)

Seems like this would be nice for laptops. I usually just sit mine on the end table when I'm done with it, so if I could sit it there and recharge it at the same time that'd be nice. Yeah, it's not that difficult to plug in, but if these were cheap and devices supported 'em, it'd just be convienent.

The whole problem with this is that companies don't want to support it until the infrastructure is out there and the manufacturer can't get the pads out there until products support it. So who takes the big dive first? Should be the big corporations, IMO. Start with cell phones and iPods and you can't go wrong, can you?

What I'm really waiting for is a way to wirelessly power a flat screen TV on the wall so I don't have to run a power cord to it. Sure, if I build the house, I can hide the power cords, but that's rarely the case. With that, I can wirelessly stream movies, etc to it and not have any cables showing at all. Sweet.

---John Holmes...

You know something... I can think of... (1)

JPamplin (804322) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758417)

I can think of a whole lot of far-more-entertaining ways to get brain cancer, so I'm not really excited about this. ;-)

Solar? (1)

dmeranda (120061) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758429)

Just use solar cells and put your devices under a table lamp.

Also, why is it that so many /. readers seem to use electric toothbrushes?

You don't put it on your head (5, Interesting)

panurge (573432) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758430)

So how exactly is a short range magnetic field going to give you brain cancer?

The efficiency is probably not at all bad; the magnetic field is short range and, in the absence of a receiver, the only thing in the magnetic circuit to absorb energy is the hysteresis of the inductor in the transmitter. Which, with modern ferrites, can be pretty small, unless of course they are using a purely air-cored system at the transmitter end, in which case it's tiny.

The huge potential benefit of this system is that it eliminates the second most unreliable part of electronic systems: connectors. Anyone who has worked at the sharp end of electronics knows that connectors suck, big time. Designs proliferate. There are far too many of them and they are far too unstandardised. And connectors designed to be repeatedly made and broken are the worst of the lot. Although the designs have come a long way (the fact that gigabit copper Ethernet connectors work is a small electronic miracle in itself) they are still the worst part of any system, after the batteries.
So here we have a system which if widely adopted allows most of the tiny connectors used in portable devices to disappear, and possibly reduces the demands on batteries because people will find recharging easier. Those are big pluses.

Sealed iPod? (2, Interesting)

utexaspunk (527541) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758432)

I've always thought it would be cool if Apple made a completely sealed, solid-state iPod. It would need inductive charging built in, as well as wireless bluetooth headphones. I'm not sure if a standard exists for it, but there also needs to be a very short-range (i.e., through the inductive charger) high-bandwidth wireless data transfer protocol. How cool would it be to have a waterproof iPod nano? Maybe someday they'll evolve into equally slim, sealed and lightweight tablets.

what we have, what we need (1)

Transcendor (907201) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758459)

as posted before, this technology is called "transformator". It uses alternated magnetical fields over a copper coil.
Another technology is known to use electrical high-frequency fields. Some of you may have heard of it. You take an oscilating circuit, say a capacitor-resistor-transistor array or more complex, but less thermosensitive, a PLL. You connect this to a cable. The other end of that cable is unconnect. Make that cable long the n-th piece of the distance a light beam would travel in a oscillation period (lambda / n). Tada!
here you go: energy from the oscillating circuit "disappears".

This energy can be retained, using a similiar cable (so-called "antenna" in both cases).
Now that has advantages: The energy will only affect cables, chips, PCB connections etc of a length similiar to lambda/n .
(BTW: why doesn't slashdot let me use the greek symbol?)
It can be quite efficient, beam formers are easy to build, and the distance can be varied.
Ah, and that technology goes back to a man named Marconi. I hope you know what I mean by now.

A replacement for power outlets? (1)

cinderful (586168) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758475)

I was talking with my friend just the other day about this concept (i didnt know it was this further along, despite the fact that I have a Sonicare toothbrush . . . duh)

The exciting thing is when appliances and their stands/desks/cabinets are able to become conduits for power.
No more messy wires.

Eventually, I would think this could be built into flooring and moulding in houses so there would be power running everywhere and we'd no longer have to worry about wires, placement of electronics close to outlets, extension cords, etc, etc.

I cant stand the ratsnest of wires I've got with my Mac, cell, ipod, speakers, scanner, printer. Ugh.

Re:A replacement for power outlets? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13758519)

damn you mac users. as if it wasn't bad enough that you were born "that way", you have to throw it in the faces of us "normal people" at every opportunity.

sounds like a great idea (1, Troll)

chasingporsches (659844) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758477)

huge magnetic field + ipod mini's internal hard drive and electronics?

doesn't sound like a good idea to me. i'll stick with throwing mine on its dock.

universal adapter VS. charge pad (2, Insightful)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758484)

If you have a universal plug adapter you can really do the same thing. The difference is simply laying the device down and spending $150.00 for that slight convenience.

How many of you read this first thought you could recharge remotely, say within 100 feet of this device? Now THAT would be convenient.

Put in a car with one of these... (1)

sorrodos (693108) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758494)

Non-slip dash pad [topoftheline.com]

Build it into the dash with a non-slip dash pad over it, put an iTrip on your iPod, and hit the road for 17+ hours straight. Forget about plugging into the cigarette lighter to recharge the iPod.

Re:Put in a car with one of these... (1)

EllF (205050) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758508)

Yeah! We can spend hundreds of dollars to avoid spending $5 on a cable!

Contactless (1)

devnullkac (223246) | more than 8 years ago | (#13758520)

There's a big difference between contactless power and wireless power. Wake me up when I can walk around town drawing power for my iPod from overhead lines.
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