Photos via Jaymi Heimbuch
Wireless charging was a popular technology being shown around CES. I stopped to talk with eCoupled, a wireless charging company working to put wireless charging in households and businesses everywhere. Basically, imagine being able to cook on your counter top more quickly and energy efficiently than current electric stovetops, or taking your laptop to the corner cafe and charging it from the table top where you work - no hunting for a free outlet for your charger. Sounds nice! While we're quite a way off from seeing this on the market, eCoupled is already showing off their technology and what we can expect to see in the future.
We talked to eCoupled before, when we had some questions about the efficiency of the Dell Latitude Z, which is the latest laptop utilizing their wireless charging technology. Here's a refresher:
Dave Baarman, Director of Advanced Technologies for Fulton Innovation and lead inventor of eCoupled wireless power technology... says, the efficiency of the wireless charging stand is actually limited by the charger the laptop comes with. The owner uses the laptop's charger to plug the stand into the wall, and since the charger is about 70% efficient, so is the charging stand. Baarman stated that if they weren't limited to the efficiency of the laptop charger, their wireless charging stand would see efficiencies in the 80-90% range.
Additionally, it uses intelligent charging, as in it detects when a battery is full and shuts off so there is zero draw when not charging, eliminating vampire power. This is accomplished by the charging stand containing a storage capacitor, so that it can still detect whether or not a device is on the stand and charging without drawing power itself. The company designed a storage capacitor that can be charged up along with the device, and when a device has completed its charge, a signal is sent to turn off the main power. The charger goes into ultra low power mode so it can detect while drawing very little power from the storage capacitor.
We're a long way off from being able to buy cordless products that we can bring home and put on our magic table tops for charging. But the technology is here, and a lot of companies are working to put it in their products and in the marketplace.
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